A woman goes to the emergency room complaining of chest pain. The doctor orders an x-ray that reveals a two-centimeter mass in her right lung. The doctor fails to warn the woman of these unsettling findings and fails to acknowledge, address or pursue the irregularity. Two years later, the woman returns to the emergency room complaining of a chronic cough. Another x-ray is ordered, revealing that the two-centimeter mass has now spread to her lungs, liver, brain, and spine. The doctors give her six months to live. Lavern’s Law gives victims of cancer misdiagnosis the right to sue.
A Cancer Misdiagnosis killed Lavern Wilkinson
Lavern Wilkinson was a mother to a child with autism and mental illness who died of lung cancer at 41. Instead of prolonging her life, the doctors at Lavern’s hospital essentially signed her death sentence by failing to diagnose and treat her cancer for over two years. A readily discernible and highly treatable disease evolved into terminal cancer, preying on stolen time and fateful oversight. One would hope justice would be provided for the medical malpractice that tragically prematurely caused a parent’s child to be left alone in the world. They would be wrong. Until now.
Under the law at the time, Lavern’s daughter and family were not afforded a fighting chance to hold those accountable for the blatant negligence that resulted in her untimely death. As it was written, the law protected the negligent hospital by barring any claims brought against it within two and a half years of the misdiagnosis. Because Lavern was not properly diagnosed until after this deadline, she was robbed of the opportunity to live and watch her daughter grow up. She was deprived of any form of justice.
The New York State legislature passed Lavern’s Law to fix this injustice in the law. Three weeks ago, it was announced Governor Cuomo officially signed the bill. Lavern’s Law amends the law by allowing a person whose cancer has been misdiagnosed to file a lawsuit up to two and a half years after discovering a mistake was made. So, while the legal system proved unrelenting in Lavern’s case, it will be forever changed by it.
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are committed to being the voice for those who suffer injustices. The picture below is of Halina Radchenko, an attorney at our law firm, proudly supporting the passing of Lavern’s Law at the New York Women’s March with her son, Anthony, by her side. (Which was only a matter of days before Governor Cumo signed the bill). Halina and the entire staff at Hach & Rose, LLP do not believe advocating for what is right is a job, instead, it is a way of life that must always be embraced.