There are many laws in place that are complex, overly specific or purposefully vague which can make it very difficult for a person to fully grasp what they mean. Therefore, laws that exist to protect or empower people may only help those who fully understand them, while other people are left without a clear understanding of their rights. This can be detrimental to a person's wellbeing, especially when it involves their heath.
For instance, there are many laws in place that relate to the rights of patients and doctors when it comes to medical malpractice. There are very specific conditions and statutes that apply to situations, which is why it can be crucial for a person who is dealing with damages caused by a medical or surgical error to speak with an attorney right away.
One such statute involves the statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims in the state of New York. One woman suffered the consequences of a missed cancer diagnosis but was then further hurt by the state law preventing her from pursuing a jury trial for the error.
According to reports, the woman had gone to the hospital in 2010 with chest pain. An x-ray showed a mass in her lung, but nothing was done and the woman was never told about it. Two years after that visit, the mass had spread and metastasized and she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
While victims of this type of malpractice in other states would be able to sue a hospital for the missed diagnosis, New York law prevented the woman from taking similar action. Depending on the type of hospital where an error occurs, a municipally-owned hospital in this case, patients have as little as 15 months after malpractice has occurred to file a lawsuit. In other states, the statute of limitations does not begin until an error has been discovered.
Time is a significant factor in many medical malpractice claims. Patients who believe they have been victims of negligence may want to speak with an attorney sooner than later if they wish to pursue compensation for their injuries.
Source: The Clinical Advisor, "Archaic law bars patient with missed cancer diagnosis from suing," Ann W. Latner, March 19, 2013