Lavern’s Law Will Help to Hold Doctors Accountable for their Mistakes

Cancer Misdiagnosis, Laws

Previously, New York was one of only six states that denies patients the ability to have their day in court if they do not find a medical error in time.  Families in New York have watched their loved ones die due to a medical error that was preventable, but they do not get their day in court because the statute of limitations has already passed before the error was even discovered.

That was changed last week when Lavern’s Law was signed.

In the 44 other states, patients who have been the victims of negligence can commence a lawsuit once they know the error has occurred.  New York only gives patients 2 ½ years (or 15 months for municipal hospitals) after the medical error actually occurred to commence a lawsuit.  Lavern’s Law will change this by commencing the statute of limitation when the patient discovers the error.

Lavern’s Law is named for Lavern Wilkinson.  She died more than four years ago of lung cancer that was treatable.  Her radiologist saw a suspicious mass but she was never informed.  Two years later she returned for a chronic cough and she was told she had cancer which had spread and was terminal.  Before she could commence a lawsuit, the statute of limitations had already expired.

This story isn’t unique.  One of the leading causes of death are preventable medical errors.  For example, a woman named June Dreifuss died in 2008 from breast cancer.  She had regular mammograms and was diagnosed in November 2006, after the cancer had spread to her bones.  They did not find out until a couple years later, too late to do anything, that her doctors had failed to inform her in 2005 that there was a problem.

These were preventable medical errors.  One way to prevent them in the future, and thereby save lives, is to hold doctors and hospitals accountable.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at