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Failure to diagnose: New hope for cancer patients in lawsuits

Federal lawmakers are currently reviewing the laws and limitations that are placed on medical malpractice cases. Reform is needed in many different areas in various states. In one state, for example, cancer patients are being victimized because of a failure to diagnose law that has been on the books for some time. Although Louisiana has its own laws when it comes to medical malpractice, any type of reform at the federal level would impact all 50 states.

As many know, some forms of cancer can go undiagnosed for years before a patient is aware that there is a serious issue. In some states, however, a person is required by law to file a medical malpractice lawsuit within 2.5 years of the time that the doctor allegedly committed the malpractice. If a cancer patient does not find out within that time period that a cancer diagnosis was missed, there would be no legal recourse.

A new bill in New York would revise that law for cancer patients. Cases that involve a doctor's failure to diagnose a malignant tumor or cancer would be different than those of other medical malpractice cases. Cancer patients would have 2.5 years from the time they discovered that they have cancer, instead of 2.5 years from the time of misdiagnosis, to file a medical malpractice claim.

New laws such as this one would protect cancer patients in states where there is a severe limit to how long a person has to file a medical malpractice suit. Anyone in Louisiana who has experienced a doctor's failure to diagnose has every right to consult with a personal injury attorney and should do so as quickly as possible. This makes it possible for the lawyer to advise the patient how long he or she may have to pursue a suit lawsuit. 

Source:, "Lavern's Law: Cancer patients get their day in court", Joseph Manna, July 4, 2017

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