Medical oversight results in woman’s death

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

After medical professionals failed to diagnose a New York woman’s cancerous nodule in 2010, it spread throughout the rest of her body, eventually claiming her life on March 7. The medical facility have now changed their practices because of the preventable errors that led to the woman’s untimely death. From now on, the radiology department at the facility will now advise doctors if they see abnormal test results in addition to those that are critical or urgent. People receiving outpatient treatment will also receive their results before they leave the hospital or receive a follow-up phone call.

The 41-year-old woman first went to the emergency room in 2010 with complaints of chest pain. She was sent home and told to take over-the-counter medication. However, an X-ray found a 2-centimeter mass that developed into lung cancer. A first-year resident reviewed the X-ray but said it was normal. Although she suffered from coughing and breathing struggles, doctors said she had asthma. The X-ray with the telltale nodule was finally discovered in 2012.

The woman is survived by a fifteen-year-old daughter with autism. Although she received a settlement from the city not long before her death, she could have pursued a lawsuit for millions of dollars. However, she learned of the mistake after the deadline for New York’s statute of limitations. The city has reviewed a plan of action to correct the mistake, and the state will oversee their efforts. The hospital and city could face financial sanctions as a result.

When someone dies because of negligence or the oversight of medical professionals, the hospital should be held accountable for their actions. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help the individual file a lawsuit so that family members receive fair and just compensation.

Source: New York Daily News, “Lavern Wilkinson lives on through Brooklyn hospital change after cancer death“, Heidi Evans, July 30, 2013

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