Cancer Misdiagnosis Leads to Preventable Death in NY

Staff Writer | April 11th, 2013

New York Medical Malpractice LawyerDoctors in New York are facing legal action after a lung cancer misdiagnosis left a man on his deathbed. Broadway stagehand Edwin Ackerman, 56, who has worked on major shows including Wicked and The Producers, is in the final stages of lung cancer, according to a recent report on the New York Daily News website.

Father of four Ackerman first went to NYU’s LangoneTrinityCenter in April 2010, complaining of a chronic cough that was emitting small amounts of blood. He was sent for an X-Ray and told the results were “normal.” Ackerman returned to the clinic multiple times over the following two years, and continued to cough up blood. He also developed serious back pain, but physicians never ordered another X-Ray or CAT scan.

The cancer misdiagnosis was eventually discovered in September 2012, when he finally had a CAT scan. The results revealed a 9cm tumor in his lung. He underwent surgery on his lung, but the cancer had already metastasized and spread to his brain and other organs.

Ackerman’s primary care physician reviewed the 2010 X-Ray and saw a small lesion. His lawyer Susan Karten said “there would have been a 70% chance” of complete recovery had the x-ray been properly analysed in 2010. She added, “he would have had a very good shot at beating this” had he been treated in time.

Ackerman’s girlfriend is overseeing the lawsuit, which alleges doctor negligence. Nobody from Langone was available for comment. Ackerman himself was unable to speak to Daily News reporters as he’d “taken a turn for the worse” and was “not lucid,” according to Karten. She also said Ackerman knows he won’t live to see the trial, but hopes his case will help prevent similar incidents occurring in future.

Doctor negligence alleged by other patients

In another high-profile case of cancer misdiagnosis, a Brooklyn woman who died earlier this year won $625,000 in a settlement reached just before her death. Lavern Wilkinson’s radiologists failed to identify a 2cm nodule on an X-Ray.

Calls for changes to NY laws

Whilst Ackerman was able to file a lawsuit regarding his cancer misdiagnosis, Wilkinson, who was a mother to a disabled teenager, was blocked from filing a malpractice suit which could have been worth millions to her family.

New York, along with just five other states, has a statute of limitations on filing suits that begins from the date the malpractice occurred, rather than the date a person can reasonably know they have experienced a cancer misdiagnosis. For Wilkinson, and many others, this means the statue of limitations ran out far too early.

In the wake of these cases, there have been calls for new legislation that would mean the state sets a “date of discovery” rule to replace the existing law, which currently requires patients receiving municipal care to file lawsuits within 15 months of the malpractice having occurred. For Ackerman, who received private care, the limit was 30 months.

New York medical malpractice lawyer can help

Millions of dollars are paid out annually to people who have suffered as a result of doctor negligence. If a provable, preventable medical mistake has led to suffering or death, an attorney specializing in malpractice can help establish liability and win compensation for victims.

If you have suffered a cancer misdiagnosis, contact a New York medical malpractice lawyer from The Sanders Firm. We have decades of experience litigating cases involving doctor negligence. Call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY to speak to one of our lawyers today. All initial consultations are completely free of charge.