NY state law stops cancer patient from suing hospital for failing to spot disease
Lissy McMahon, New York hospital victim (Photo: Screen capture)

Lissy McMahon was a healthy 42-year-old woman living in Boston and raising her son. Her doctor found a fibroid in her uterus that needed to be removed so she went to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York to have it done so she would be closer to her family.

Two years later she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in her uterus, liver, and back. When her doctors looked at the pathology report from her surgery two years prior at Lenox Hill, they found the cancer was there then, but doctors at Lenox Hill never told her. She told Fox5NY, the cancer continued to grow for years because McMahon never knew that she had it.

"'We reviewed the pathology slides from Lenox Hill and there was evidence of cancer on 10 out of 40 of the slides,'" she said doctors told her. "I was honestly almost too in shock."

But now, McMahon has no recourse, because New York law mandates that any medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within 15 months of the incident that prompted the suit.

"I was told that the window of time that I would have had to seek restitution for this mistake closed before I even knew I had cancer," she explained.

"Two and a half years from the date that you should have discovered the malpractice is what the statute should be," her attorney Jeffrey Bloom, said. "It's what it is everywhere else in the country."

The New York legislature has an opportunity to fix it with Lavern's Law, but in 2015, the bill died just like Lavern Wilkinson, the woman for which the law is named. She was a Brooklyn mother who died after being diagnosed with a treatable and curable form of lung cancer in 2013. Both parties support the bill, but it still hasn't passed.

"Right now there are 38 cosponsors of the 63-member state Senate who say they support the bill," Bloom said. "Bring it to the floor. We'll get it fixed."

Check out the full interview with McMahon below.