In January, we told you about a New York City woman who went to the hospital with a chronic cough. Doctors initially said she had asthma. However, two years later the woman was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
An X-ray taken during her first trip to the hospital revealed a small nodule on the woman’s right lung, but no one ever told the woman about what had been found. She doesn’t have much time left to live. Sadly, her cancer likely would have been treatable if not for her delayed diagnosis.
This case is tragic because of the mistakes made by numerous physicians along the way. However, the fact that the woman will be leaving behind a 15-year-old daughter with severe disabilities makes this story even more heartbreaking.
The woman recently reached a $625,000 settlement with the hospital. The money will be put in a trust to be used for her daughter’s care. However, it will likely run out before the woman’s daughter turns 20. That’s because her daughter’s care will likely cost around $150,000 a year.
Sadly, the woman may have been able to reach a much larger settlement with the hospital if it weren’t for New York’s statute of limitations. Under New York law, a patient has one year and three months to file a lawsuit after a medical error occurs. The woman in this case didn’t even learn about her cancer until two years after the initial error occurred.
It is tragic that patients have to be subjected to this kind of care. New York City residents who suspect they are the victim of malpractice would be wise to learn more about their legal options.
Source: New York Daily News, "Exclusive: Pittance for her pain: Brooklyn mom receives $625K settlement after doctors failed to detect her cancer, but attorneys speculate she could have gotten $10 million or more in another state," Heidi Evans, Feb. 27, 2013