“I just found out I have cancer that should have been diagnosed three years ago”

May 7, 2015

Another potential client came in with this scenario.  She now has Stage 4 breast cancer.  She didn’t discover it until over three years since the last time she saw a breast specialist and complained about a lump.  No mammogram or biopsy was done.  Perhaps that doctor should have diagnosed the cancer at that time and prevented it from advancing to Stage 4.  She’d like to sue that doctor.   Unfortunately, in New York, she can’t.

In medical malpractice cases in New York, there is a 2 1/2 year statute of limitations from the date the malpractice occurred. Unless there was continuous treatment after that, you can’t sue if you discover the cancer more than 2 1/2 years after the malpractice occurred.  Most states in this country begin the statute of limitations when the malpractice was discovered, not when if occurred.  And in those states, this patient would have the right to sue.  Not in New York.

There are currently proposals in the New York State Senate and Assembly to amend the statute of limitations to be in conformance with these other states.  Unless those proposals get passed, New York will continue to deprive clients, mostly women, from being able to seek redress against the doctor who made the mistake. Clinical guidelines are developing so that cancer screening for women is being done less frequently.  If less frequent than every 2 1/2 years, women in New York who subsequently discover a cancer that should have been diagnosed at the prior screening will continue to be victimized.

Contact your State Senator or Assemblyman, and tell him or her that you support the “date of discovery” proposals being advance by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA). Maybe the law will change so that other women will be able to redress these wrongs.