Guest Column: Medical malpractice caps the real person

I could tell you our story, but this isn’t about my husband and me. It’s more about you, someone you know, or someone you love.

Recently, I was taking around a petition requesting our senators to remove pain and suffering caps on medical malpractice suits. (One measure has already been passed but is being appealed.) The petition was received with mixed reactions. I decided I really needed to let people know more about the facts.

We need to stop Congress from taking away the rights of victims of medical malpractice. Our senators cannot afford to forget families whose lives are changed forever by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.

Doctors are stating that because of medical malpractice insurance rates, they may leave their practices.

From what I have read about states that have imposed caps on their residents, guess what? The malpractice insurance rates are still going up—not down. Where is the rationale in this?

Protect a victim’s rights—hold wrongdoers and those guilty of negligence responsible for their actions.

According to an investigation by the West Virginia Sunday Gazette-Mail, just 40 doctors account for more than one-fourth of the nearly 2,300 cases of medical malpractice claims reported to the West Virginia Board of Medicine.

Maybe it is time an investigation was taken here?

A cap on non-economic damages harms the ones who need it most.

Non-economic damages compensate patients for real injuries, loss of fertility, loss of a spouse or child, loss of mobility, excruciating pain, permanent or severe disfigurement.

I believe that no two medical malpractice cases are the same. Each case should be decided on its own facts, not by some cap decided in Washington.

Our justice system is set up to protect each and every one of us.

Call your senator at the Illinois main switchboard, (202) 224-3121. They will put you through to the Illinois senator you want to contact. Oppose medical malpractice reform.

Do it for someone you love.

Martha Metheny is a resident of Rockford who has a personal interest in medical malpractice lawsuits.

From the July 12-18, 2006, issue

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