Malpractice bill brings mixed reaction

Edwardsville Intelligencer
Saturday, August 27, 2005

In a ceremony at St. Anthony's Hospital in Alton, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law a package of medical liability reforms that includes caps on non-economic damages for victims of malpractice.
Both proponents and opponents of Illinois's new medical malpractice law acknowledge that the law will most likely face a constitutionality challenge in front of the Illinois Supreme Court before they can be assured of its permanence.
But, they don't agree on the issue in general. Before he signed the bill, the governor said he is opposed personally to the caps, yet believes other portions of the bill are essential.

CJ&D asked Debi Surlas to tell her story at a press conference that took place before the governor signed the bill on Thursday. Surlas is blind in her left eye and can only distinguish light and blurs of color in her right eye after an ophthalmologist misdiagnosed her diabetic eye disease as glaucoma in 1988.
A different correctly diagnosed the condition as diabetic retinopathy 18 months later. If the disease had been correctly diagnosed, available treatments would have almost certainly saved her vision. She has since had multiple hemorrhages in both eyes and had multiple surgeries.

She said if caps had been in place when she lost her eyesight, she wouldn't have recovered enough to make the necessary changes in her life to enable her to cope with blindness. Her case has been long settled, but she said she worries about all the future victims of malpractice.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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