Malpractice victims blast new law

Illinois’ The Telegraph
Friday, August 26, 2005

Victims of medical negligence blasted Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s signing Thursday of a reform bill that caps pain and suffering awards as "cruel" and "unconstitutional."
The event was organized by Amber Hard, a spokeswoman for the Center for Justice and Democracy, a self-described consumer advocacy group that counts trial lawyers among its financial backers.
"Caps devastate victims of medical malpractice but do not bring down the cost of health care, do not lower insurance rates for doctors and will do nothing to keep physicians in Illinois," Hard said.
Debi Surlas of Aurora was left blind in her left eye and has compromised vision in her right eye after an ophthalmologist misdiagnosed her diabetic eye disease as glaucoma.
She said it is "blatantly unfair" to cap pain and suffering damages at an arbitrary number, asserting that every victim’s case needs to be considered individually by a jury.
"It’s so cruel to victimize these victims again by limiting what their lives are worth," she said. "Until you can walk in our shoes, you just don’t know what it’s like."

"More people are killed in Illinois from medical mistakes than from HIV, homicides or car crashes," Hard said. "Given those types of numbers, you’d think we’d all be clamoring for a solution to the state’s medical malpractice crisis that revolves around cutting down the errors."
Ghawi’s wife, Kathy, said it "infuriates" her that some people view her husband as greedy, seeking an unreasonable claim that has a negative effect on the entire community.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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