Group protests malpractice caps; Cancer survivor says the $750,000 she settled for "was actually very fair"

Peoria Journal Star
Saturday, May 21, 2005

Karen Coyle noticed a lump in her breast about six years ago, when she was six weeks pregnant with her second child. She told her obstetrician, who examined it and assured her it wasn't a problem.
The lump grew and the Peoria woman mentioned it at her monthly prenatal visits to her Chicago doctor's office. When she was eight months pregnant, she finally decided something had to be done.
"I said, 'Will you do something about this lump, because it's getting bigger,'" Coyle said Friday at Bradley Park, where she and the Center for Justice and Democracy protested pending state legislation that would cap settlements for medical malpractice suits.
But by the time Coyle's doctor realized the lump was something out of the ordinary, it was too late. The cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. The 34-year-old underwent chemotherapy, a mastectomy and the removal of 12 lymph nodes.
She sued and settled for $750,000 - three times the limit currently proposed in legislation before the Illinois General Assembly.
 The proposed bill limits claims for pain and suffering against individual physicians to $250,000 and hospitals at $500,000, while legislation in the Senate suggests limits of $500,000 and $1 million, respectively.

Coyle joined Mark Fraley of the Center for Justice and Democracy in urging area legislators to oppose the proposals. Fraley said the intended purpose of the law - to lower malpractice insurance for physicians - will not result and that victims of malpractice will face additional suffering.
 "I wouldn't compromise anything that would be harmful to patients," Fraley said.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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