Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Now It Gets Interesting

Everybody knew that it was coming, the only question was when. The answer is now. From Crain's:
Trial lawyers on Monday filed a much-anticipated lawsuit seeking to overturn the law that limits jury awards for medical malpractice victims.

The plaintiff in the suit alleges a doctor at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in west suburban Melrose Park botched the delivery of her daughter in October 2005. The 13-month-old suffered permanent brain damage from of lack of oxygen during delivery and must be fed through a tube, the lawsuit says.

As I have previously stated, while I believe that there is a shortage of doctors in parts of our state, and while I agree that malpractice rates are higher than they should be, I do not believe that either of these facts were caused by our previously-existing malpractice laws.

It has been a bedrock principle of our legal system to have faith in an empaneled jury to assess and award damages in tort cases. To artificially limit such awards in an arbitrary manner is an unwarranted deviation from this core principle that was driven by politics and economics rather than any sense of constitutionality or jurisprudential logic.

For those who support the caps, I hope that the legal briefs that are filed on your behalf proffer a better argument than this one:

“If this rollback succeeds, it will drive doctors from the state and medical care costs will skyrocket,” Peter Eupierre, president of the Illinois State Medical Society, said in a statement.
It's safe to say that all sides are eager to see this issue litigated and resolved by the courts. And while that resolution won't come quickly, it's a good bet that whatever the court decides, this issue is far from over.

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