From time to time in the healthcare industry, patients suffer at the hands of their physicians. This unfortunate reality has devastating effects that can change the course of a person’s life forever. When situations like this occur, the victims have a right to be compensated fairly for whatever circumstances they find themselves in.
The passing of this law comes on the heels of a tragedy in which the existing law prohibited a woman from receiving just compensation for a medical error due to a technicality. The old law allowed patients two and a half years from the time a doctor’s negligence occurred to file a malpractice claim. However in some cases, particularly dealing with cancer diagnoses, it may take longer before any error is realized.
This was the case for Lavern Wilkinson. At the age of 41 she passed away from a curable form of lung cancer because of a missed diagnosis. By the time the cancer was discovered, it was too advanced for treatment. Lavern was not permitted to hold the physician who made the mistake accountable because the window for filing a medical malpractice claim had passed. At the time of her passing, her family was left heartbroken and without the compensation they deserved.
This incident forced legislators to readdress how medical malpractice cases operate in situations like this. After much deliberation, a new law was passed to ensure that a patient’s rights will be secure when a similar incident occurs in the future. This new legislation is titled Lavern’s Law in honor of Lavern Wilkinson.
How Does Lavern’s Law Affect Medical Malpractice Cases?
This new bill keeps the two and half year statute of limitations like before. However, that window begins when the doctor’s malpractice is discovered by the patient rather than when it actually occurred. This alteration brings added security to cancer patients who are struggling due to a misdiagnosis. Both lawyers and lawmakers agree that the passing of this bill is a step in the right direction. The legal system should no longer interfere with these victims getting the restitution they need.