Governor signs med mal bill

Illinois’ The Telegraph
Friday, August 26, 2005

Gov. Rod Blagojevich came to Alton on Thursday and, with the stroke of a pen, ended two years of intense, big-money, partisan wrangling over medical malpractice reform.
His decision to sign the controversial medical malpractice reform bill in the Metro East -- a region that has lost 160 doctors to skyrocketing insurance premiums -- shines light on the central role local patients, doctors and politicians played in focusing statewide attention on the problem. 

However, the ultimate survival of the new law -- which caps jury awards for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits -- is in question, as trial lawyers and victims’ advocacy groups are expected to challenge its constitutionality
Officials with the Center for Justice and Democracy, a self-described victims’ advocacy group that counts a number of trial lawyers among its financial contributors, criticized the legislation at a news conference at the Alton Holiday Inn before the governor’s arrival. 

A number of victims of medical negligence -- including a St. Charles man named Elie Ghawi whose doctor operated on the wrong section of his brain -- said that capping pain and suffering damages unfairly punishes the victims who need the financial support most of all. 

"It’s horrifying to think that the whole emphasis of what has happened with medical errors is put on the poor doctors and the poor medical institutions. No thought is given to the patients," said Ghawi’s wife, Kathy. "This is a very sad day for patients in Illinois." 
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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