Disgusted Over Bush's Dismissal of Patients' Needs, Injured Ohio Patient Demands Meeting - Again

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

For Release:
January 26, 2005
Contact: Joanne Doroshow or Laurie Beacham
New York, NY - Judy Mays, a Ohio woman whose life was forever altered by the devastating effects of medical negligence, said today that she was strongly disappointed to learn that President Bush is returning to Ohio on Thursday without even bothering to respond to an earlier request to meet made by her and two other women. Mays, along with Lisa Vitale and Deborah Rayburn, submitted that request seven months ago.  Judy Mays is sending a second meeting request today.
“It is unacceptable for President Bush to campaign for a law that would  protect HMO’s, drug companies, unsafe hospitals  and the insurance industry, while failing to meet with the very people who will be hurt most by his narrow-minded and harmful legislation,” said Mays.
Bush plans to come to Ohio to discuss his health care agenda, which includes limiting compensation to most catastrophically injured patients.  While campaigning last year, President Bush came to Ohio several times to attack those who use the courts to seek compensation and improve patient safety by holding accountable in court hospitals, HMOs and other heath care providers.  Mays, Vitale, and Rayburn, all devastatingly injured patients of one particular doctor whom Bush brought on stage, demanded a meeting in a letter sent June 22, 2004.  The White House still has not responded, as it has refused to respond to numerous other requests to meet by injured patients.
Mays stated, “Bush’s failure to respond to us is cold-hearted, and a reflection of his apparent priorities – profits over patients.  We are good citizens who have lost a tremendous amount as a result of negligent health care.  President Bush needs to listen to our stories.”
Full copies of both letters follow:
January 26, 2005
President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
VIA FACSIMILE: 202-456-2461
Email: [email protected]
Dear President Bush:
I write today to reiterate an earlier request to meet with you made on June 22, 2004 by me, Lisa Vitale, and Deborah Rayburn.  We never received a reply.
We all sought a meeting with you last June to discuss your decision to have Dr. Compton Girdharry on stage with you in Ohio on May 25, 2004 when you called for limits on the legal rights of medical malpractice victims because of “junk and frivolous lawsuits.”  As victims of Dr. Girdharry’s negligent medical care who suffered devastating injuries to us and our families, we believed that using him as an example of someone unfairly sued was outrageous. We wanted the opportunity to explain to you why patients of medical malpractice should not be blamed for high malpractice insurance premiums or other professional challenges faced by doctors.
I understand you are now returning to Ohio to discuss health care priorities.  The proposals you’ve discussed since last June do not reflect a reconsideration of the effects such laws would have upon injured patients. I am once again requesting some time with you to discuss the enormous stake that patients like me, Ms. Vitale, and Ms. Rayburn have in your proposed medical malpractice legislation. Lives literally depend on your understanding the patients’ perspective.
Please contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or the address below to let me know when and where I can meet with you.
Thank you.
Very truly yours,
Judy Mays
Beloit, Ohio
June 22, 2004
The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
We write today to request a meeting with you at your earliest convenience.  The purpose of this meeting is to discuss with you your decisions to have Dr. Compton Girdharry and Dr. Sara McBee join you on stage when you were in Ohio on May 25 and in Arkansas on January 26, respectively. At both appearances, you called for limits on the legal rights of medical malpractice victims because of “junk and frivolous lawsuits.”
In Ohio, you called Dr. Girdharry a “guy who’s helping make people’s lives better” and someone we “need in [our] communities.” Three of us are victims of Dr. Girdharry’s negligent medical care.  He has repeatedly committed malpractice and your decision to use him as an example of a doctor who has been unfairly sued is outrageous.  In fact, we would question why he continues to practice without having ever been disciplined, despite settling approximately eight medical malpractice cases.
In Arkansas, you called Dr McBee’s decision to stop practicing a “direct result of too many junk lawsuits” and used her as an alleged example of a “decent doc” whose experience shows the need to limit victims’ rights. Yet she severely injured our child by providing negligent care. In fact, she later agreed to settle our case--a case which she says you were aware of when you appeared with her.
Each of us brought a lawsuit against our negligent doctor because he or she provided terribly poor care, far below acceptable standards. Our cases were neither “junk” nor “frivolous.”  We would like to show you why victims of medical malpractice should not be blamed formal practice insurance problems that doctors are experiencing.  Please contact Lisa Vitale, at xxx-xxx-xxxx, or the address below, to let us know when and where we can meet with you.
Thank you.
Sincerely yours,
Lisa Vitale
***, Alliance, Ohio 44601
Deborah Rayburn
Minerva, Ohio
Judy Mays
Beloit, Ohio

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