Middle ground sought on malpractice; Legislators near deadline for action

Belleville News-Democrat
Monday, May 23, 2005

Metro-east legislators for two years have been trying to muscle through medical malpractice reform that would lower doctors' premiums and, in turn, keep physicians from leaving Illinois.

The state General Assembly, in the last week of its regular spring session, is expected to take up the topic again as soon as today. However, it still remains unclear whether the lawmakers have made enough compromise to pass legislation enacting real reform.

In the Illinois House, legislation stalled last week because of a number of hostile amendments filed by Chicago Democrats generally opposed to the idea of capping noneconomic damages. The caps would limit victims' ability to receive justice, they say.
Filed amendments included provisions that would raise the cap amount and would not protect doctors who left a sponge in a patient or were busy having sex when they should have been delivering a baby in need of special care. None of them have received enough votes to make it into the bill.
"Every one of these amendments would have made the bill less cruel to medical malpractice victims," said Amber Hard, staff director of the nonprofit Center for Justice and Democracy, which works to protect victims' rights. "The more exceptions we can have for people, the better it is for medical malpractice victims."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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