Patients’ Rights Groups Push For Lavern’s Law To Be Signed By Governor Cuomo In New York


Lavern’s Law passed both the New York House and New York Assembly in June of this year. However, the bill has not been delivered to Governor Cuomo to sign yet. Before it has even been sent to him, lobbying firms and groups from insurance companies, hospitals, healthcare providers, and other businesses have urged Governor Cuomo to veto Lavern’s Law. They argue that it will increase their costs, which will in turn increase the costs of healthcare.

Now, finally, more than 60 patients’ rights groups and other groups are pushing back. They are urging Governor Cuomo to sign Lavern’s Law to make it fair and just for victims of misdiagnosed cancer cases to get their day in court.

Lavern’s Law allows a victim of a cancer misdiagnosis to have an alternative period to commence a medical malpractice action. Generally, a medical malpractice case must be commenced within two and a half years from the date of the negligent act or omission. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you fail to bring a claim within the statute of limitations, your case may be procedurally barred. Because most cancer misdiagnosis cases are not discovered until AFTER the two and a half years, the victim cannot commence a lawsuit. New York is just one of six states with this rule barring cases.

However, Lavern’s Law permits a victim to have the statute of limitations to begin to run on the date of discovery of the medical malpractice. Meaning, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until that time. Advocates call this a “common-sense change to an obsolete law” and an important victory for patient rights.

Even the state’s Nurse’s Association, of which nurses could not become liable for their contributions for these mistakes, has urged Governor Cuomo to sign Lavern’s Law.

This is a great bill that needs more support. This is for VICTIMS to have rights—it is not automatically finding liability against a negligent healthcare provider like the opposition contends. But what is ironic, is the current rule allows for a victim to lose before the lawsuit even starts. That is, the right to file a claim is barred before the cancer misdiagnosis is apparent. This is horrible and needs immediate change.