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New NY law extends deadline for cancer lawsuits

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a law extending

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a law extending the statute of limitations on cancer malpractice lawsuits. Jan. 29, 2018. Credit: James Escher

ALBANY — As he signaled earlier this week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a law Wednesday to extend the time cancer patients have to file medical malpractice lawsuits.

As a result, the statute of limitations for filing a suit now will be either 2 1⁄2 years after a patient learns of a misdiagnosis or seven years after the actual misdiagnosis. The previous limit was 15 months from the point of misdiagnosis.

Activists had argued the old limit hurt patients who didn’t learn of a misdiagnosis until after the statute of limitations had expired — such as the case of Lavern Wilkerson, after whom the new measure, dubbed Lavern’s Law, is named. The Brooklyn resident died in 2013 at age 41 from lung cancer following a missed diagnosis.

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