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Illinois Good Samaritan Act No Defense for Negligent Doctors

The 2d District Appellate Court affirmed a jury verdict awarding plaintiffs in a medical malpractice suit $6.3 million. The defense’s appeal was based on a clause in the Good Samaritan Act which immunizes doctors who render emergency care without accepting a fee from being sued for medical malpractice. The defense argued that because it chose not to charge the plaintiff’s for the decedent’s medical bills, it fell under the clause and could not be subject to suit. Citing precedent, the Court noted that the Act does not protect physicians who render emergency services in situations that arise within the confines of their employment. Instead, the clause is meant to extend to health care professionals who render emergency treatment to victims in emergency situation “on the street.” This ruling affirms that negligent doctors cannot escape liability simply by choosing not to charge the victims of their malpractice.