Advocates took fight over med-mal reform to the streets

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
Thursday, May 26, 2005

Interest groups on both sides of the fight over medical malpractice reform went directly to the voters to press their case for reform.
They employed letters, automated phone calls and publicity stunts in order to rally the public to their side.

Amber Hard, staff director for the Center for Justice & Democracy, a consumer rights group that opposes caps, said she plans to send letters to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich asking him to veto caps and will encourage others to do the same. But the governor's spokeswoman has already indicated that he will sign the measure.

Hard sent out 3,000 letters to Chicago-area residents whose representatives voted against proposed amendments to House Bill 4074, an initial compromise floated in the House two weeks ago.
The changes would have raised the cap on awards against doctors to $ 1 million, would have eliminated caps if a patient suffered because the doctor was engaged in sexual intercourse while on duty, and would have allowed a doctor's license to be revoked if he or she committed three acts of gross negligence.
Hard said her group sent letters primarily to female constituents of womenlegislators who voted against the amendments.

She said women legislators were targeted because many malpractice cases involve unnecessary breast removal and loss of fertility.
"Those do not have economic consequences, but they have devastating mental and lifelong consequences," Hard said.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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