Many question Illinois' medical malpractice reform bill

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dr. Bob Hamilton's feet were hurting more; getting up each morning became more difficult. Retirement - laying down the scalpel - became appealing. It would mean more time to relax and attend to personal matters.
But a hefty motivation for the Godfrey surgeon to leave his practice after 30 years was unrelated: skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance. His premium, about to jump tens of thousands of dollars, was just too high.

Victim's rights
Don Fansher is tired of the debate, tired of the insinuations that he is greedy and tired of what he sees as insurance companies and hoodwinked doctors blaming people like him.
For years, the 54-year-old from Freeburg was told that his bleeding was just a bad case of hemorrhoids. He took his doctor's word, until a few years ago, when a trip to the emergency room revealed advanced colorectal cancer.
Since then, he's undergone multiple surgeries and had to self-administer drugs. The cancer spread to his liver and now he counts his weeks. An out-of-court settlement in his malpractice case - which he declined to discuss in detail - is what has paid the mountains of medical bills.
If Fansher had been subject to the $500,000 cap, he likely wouldn't be here, he said. He couldn't have afforded the treatments that have kept him alive.
"I ain't got too much time left and these caps ain't doing nothing for people just like me," Fansher said.
The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and advocacy groups like the Center for Justice and Democracy and USA Action have continually denounced the malpractice legislation. As the anniversary of signing approached, they called on legislators to replace the caps with more curbs on insurance companies.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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