When the Doctor Misses Your Illness

Florida medical malpractice attorneys

Florida medical malpractice attorneys are studying a recently enacted New York law that extends the amount of time a patient has to file a lawsuit after a misdiagnosis. That’s a victory for patient’s rights advocates, who know the difficulty in filing successful medical malpractice lawsuits. One big problem that medical malpractice victims can face is the statute of limitations.  In general, Florida medical malpractice victims must file a lawsuit within two years of a medical mistake.

New York recently changed its law to extend the statute because of the case of a woman whose doctors missed her cancer diagnosis. Lavern Wilkerson was a 38-year-old woman from Brooklyn who went to the local Emergency Department with chest pains in 2010. A first-year resident looked at her chest X-ray and said she was fine. The doctor sent her home.

Wilkerson started having breathing problems. Doctors gave her a diagnosis of asthma. Her troubles continued for two years. Finally, doctors took another look at the original X-ray. This time they saw there had been a small mass on one of Wilkerson’s lungs. Experts say now that it was early-stage lung cancer and that it could have been cured. But by the time doctors discovered their error, Wilkerson had full-blown cancer, which had spread throughout her body.

When Wilkerson finally got the right diagnosis, she tried to sue the hospital for the missed diagnosis, medical negligence and medical malpractice. However, the statute of limitations to sue for medical malpractice in the state worked against her. The law there requires injured patients to file suit within 15 months of the date of the medical mistake or negligence. There was no provision in the law for patients who had no way of knowing that medical negligence had happened within that period. Sometimes the effects of a doctor’s malpractice don’t show themselves for a long time. In Wilkerson’s case, two years had gone by, and she had missed the statute of limitations.


Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys Fight For Victims


Patient advocates and the Trial Lawyers Association started a campaign to change the law. Doctors and the Hospital Association fought hard against it. But in the end, the Governor signed the law, which extends the statute of limitations to two and a half years from the date that a cancer patient discovers a misdiagnosis.

When Florida medical malpractice attorneys file a claim, the statute of limitations is a critical consideration. It can be complicated, as in Florida. If doctor negligence, hospital error, medical malpractice or a missed or wrong diagnosis has affected your life, you need expert help. Contact the Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Martinez Manglardi. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation. Offices throughout Central Florida.

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