New York Legislature Debates Changes in Medical Malpractice Law

The New York State State Legislature is deciding when the statute of limitations in medical malpractices should go into effect. Currently the law reads that the clock starts ticking when the malpractice first occurred. Legislators want to change it to when the malpractice was first discovered. The legislation concerns a case where a woman died of curable lung cancer because doctors at Kings County Hospital failed to inform her of a suspicious mass on her lungs during a routine chest x-ray in 2010. The cancer was discovered in 2012 after the 15 month statute of limitations had run out. Legal experts report she may have received $8 million to $10 million to care for a severely disabled son she left as an orphan. New York is one of only five states that start the expiration clock for medical malpractice suits at the time the mistake is made, and not when the misdiagnosis is discovered. The bill is called “Lavern’s Law” and passed the Assembly and now moves to the Senate.