Mother's death leads push to reform medical malpractice laws

Citizens of New York have a good reason to not go to the hospital when sick or injured. Out of 50 states, New York rates 32nd for patient safety. Worse, laws that are in desperate need of updating don't even allow those injured to seek for their losses.

Two representatives, one Democrat and one Republican, seek to change New York's laws and help those who have suffered from medical malpractice. The law is nicknamed "Lavern's Law" in reference to the death of Lavern Wilkinson, a 41-year-old mother who died earlier this year. Advocates of the bill say she may not have died if she had received the proper medical care.

Wilkinson went to the emergency room due to chest pains in 2010. An X-ray showed a suspicious spot on her lungs. Her doctors, however, did not act on it without even telling Wilkinson she had it. Two years later, Wilkinson was so full of cancer that treatment was not an option. If the lump would have been treated when it was first spotted, she may have had a chance. As it was, she died in March, leaving behind a disabled daughter.

It is estimated that one in four Americans suffers some type of harm from a medical error at the hospital. According to a study by the Leapfrog Group, New York remains at the bottom of this ladder when it comes to patient safety.

Many times, family members of those hurt by the medical profession do not know that they can seek compensation in court. Medical bills and other expenses can be awarded, as well as money for emotional damage due to injury or death. Speaking to a medical malpractice attorney is a good way to find out what the options are when faced with the possibility of suing a medical facility.

Source: AMNewYork, "Cohen: For sake of patients, change NY's malpractice law", Bob Cohen, June 18, 2013

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