Cancer misdiagnosis of New York woman fails to bring needed change

One of the most stressful and frustrating experiences is to deal with a health issue and when people in Onondaga County seek the advice of their physician, they immediately trust that the doctor will discover what is wrong. Yet, despite the many advancements that have been made in modern medicine, and the increasing use of technology, missed cancer diagnoses still occur.

Misdiagnosis a serious problem

According to Kaiser Health News, out of 583 mistakes in diagnostic errors, 28 percent had led to the death of a patient, permanent disability or threatened the life of the patient. One example of a missed diagnosis was the story of a physician in Maryland who had throat cancer. However, the hospital told him that he had acid reflux, which was causing the pain in his throat. By the time the cancer was finally detected, the man's voice box had to be removed.

Contributing factors to the widespread problem of misdiagnosing an issue such as cancer lies in doctors' overconfidence according to one professional. Many doctors do not report when they make an error, believing that they were not the ones at fault. In some cases, it is not one error, but a number of errors that leads to a terminal diagnosis.

Laverne's story

A mother named Laverne, in Brooklyn, died recently of lung cancer after being the victim of a series of medical malpractice errors over a period of two years, according to The New York Daily News. The errors began when she visited a hospital in 2010 with chest pain. She was told to take aspirin. However a radiologist noted that the woman had a mass that was two centimeters in diameter in her right lung.

In 2012, the woman returned to the hospital, only then to find out about that early test and be informed that she had lung cancer and six months to live. To make things worse, New York law prohibited her from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit because of a two year statute of limitations that started from the date of the missed diagnosis, not the date the error was discovered.

Laverne's law fails in New York legislature

After the woman's story became public New York lawmakers presented legislation this year to change the statute of limitations, making it possible for victims of medical malpractice to seek compensation. However, while 30 New York senators supported the bill, it failed to get the support of the senate's leader and the sponsor of the bill pulled it when it stalled.

It is not the first time the proposal has been presented and the sponsor is hoping that it will finally be approved in 2014 when it is presented again. New York and five other states have a narrow limit on medical malpractice claims.

If you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should meet with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to pursue compensation.