The death of Lavern’s Law saved hospitals and insurers a lot of money. Should that money go to a senator who helped kill it?
This post is not a political endorsement. It is meant to call attention to the forces that affect victims of medical malpractice.
Earlier this year, New York legislators considered a bill that could have made it easier for countless victims of medical negligence to pursue compensation under the law. Despite widespread support, it was blocked – in large part by GOP senator and Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon.
Why would the chair of the Senate Health Committee oppose a bill that’s good for patients? According to the New York Daily News, It might have something to do with the powerful Greater New York Hospital Association, which loudly lobbied against the bill. The Association has formed a Super PAC that has spent nearly $200,000 on Senator Hannon’s behalf.
Lavern’s Law: dead on the table
The bill was named Lavern’s Law after a Brooklyn woman who died because of misdiagnosed cancer. Her cancer was curable, but doctors failed to correctly diagnose and treat it. By the time Lavern decided to sue for the compensation she deserved, the window file a suit had expired. Now, her disabled child needs 24-hour care but is left without the invaluable support that a medical malpractice verdict would have provided.
Statutes of limitations in medical malpractice claims
Under New York’s medical malpractice laws, the time a patient has to file a malpractice suit begins when an error occurs – not when it is discovered. This means that victims of errors that go undiscovered for months or even years have significantly less time to pursue medical malpractice claims. Lavern’s Law would have changed that, counting down the statute of limitations when a patient finds out about a mistake.
We can’t always trust our elected officials to act in our best interests, so it is critical that victims of medical malpractice consult with someone who will. It is always wise to contact an attorney to ensure your rights are protected.