Lavern Wilkinson found out in May that a lingering cough that doctors were treating for two years as if it were asthma was actually lung cancer. As a result, Wilkinson, 41, accepted a negligence settlement of $625,000.
It is believed that the Brooklyn mother could have received $10 million dollars or more if she had taken her doctors to court in another state. New York’s statute of limitations for filing suit against a city hospital expires a year and three months after the medical error occurs. After paying her lawyers, Wilkinson will keep about $425,000. The money will go into a trust for her severely disabled daughter.
Wilkinson’s daughter, Micalia, is autistic, retarded and mute. The cost for taking care of someone with her severe disabilities can be as much as $150,000 a year. According to The Daily News, the girl is only 15 so the money will probably be gone before she turns 20.
If Wilkinson succumbs to her cancer, Gloria O’Connor, her aunt, will take care of Micalia. O’Connor is a 61-year-old breast cancer survivor. She worries about what will happen to the teen if her mom passes away.
“What I worry about in the long run is that Micalia will just end up in the system — in a state facility when I am too old or can’t take care of her anymore,” O’Connor said. “I am scared to death she will be abused or not well taken care of the way she is now. I love Micalia, but my love is a grand auntie’s love, not the love of a mother. That cannot be replaced. I worry for that child.”
When Wilkinson initially went to the hospital, emergency room doctors ordered a chest X-ray and an EKG. Physicians at Kings County Hospital told her that the tests were normal and she was sent home with instructions to take Motrin. That was in February of 2010.
When Wilkinson went back to the ER in May, a doctor discovered that she had stage four lung cancer. The cancer had already spread to both of her lungs and other organs. Had it been diagnosed originally, treatment may have been possible.
Source: (The Daily News)