Little-Known Aspect of Medical Malpractice Law Makes It Difficult to Sue for a Missed Diagnosis


Despite the fact that the vast majority of situations where someone receives medical care involve a doctor performing capably and properly for that patient, doctors are also human and they will make mistakes just like anyone else. One of the worst mistakes that can be made by a doctor is to miss a diagnosis of a condition that a patient has contracted. Not only can a patient pay a heavy price for this mistake, but he or she can pay with his or her life. Sadly, that happens more often than most people would think.

Within that context, most people understand that the earlier one diagnoses a disease such as cancer, the better the chances are that the patient will overcome that challenge and be able to continue with his or her life. The longer cancer is allowed to progress undetected, the more danger and pain a patient will face. Therefore, when a doctor misses a cancer diagnosis, the results of that mistake can be devastating for that patient and for that patient’s family.

New York medical malpractice attorneys will file lawsuits against doctors who miss diagnoses of conditions that are present in patients, and for good reason, as those patients suffer unnecessarily because of these oversights. However, most people understand that there is a statute of limitations involved with the filing of these legal claims, and a failure to file a claim within that time period will bar that lawsuit from continuing.

In New York, a patient who suffers because of medical malpractice must file a lawsuit within 2.5 years of that mistake against a private or a non-profit hospital and within 15 months against a hospital that is owned by a municipality. Most of the time, the statute of limitations will begin to run when the patient discovers the medical mistake or when he or she reasonably should have discovered that mistake. This rule is in place in jurisdictions around the country because people cannot be expected to detect the presence of a disease without medical help.

Unfortunately, patients in New York do not generally have the same advantage working for them. New York’s statute of limitations for situations such as a missed diagnosis of cancer begins to run at the time that malpractice occurs instead of when the patient discovers the harm that was inflicted. As such, many people who find out that they have cancer well after the point where anything can be done about it medically also face a situation where nothing can be done about it legally either.

What this should tell anyone who has any suspicion whatsoever that a doctor has missed a diagnosis is that they should take immediate steps to obtain a second medical opinion. People who have been wronged in this way should also take immediate steps to obtain the legal help they need. Contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.