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Reactions to Illinois Supreme Court’s Medical Malpractice Case

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court reached a landmark decision which ruled that medical malpractice caps are unconstitutional. The Illinois Supreme Court decided that patient’s rights were more prevalent than the needs of the insurance company. They overruled an Illinois statute that capped pain and suffering at $500,000 from a doctor and $1 million from a hospital for negligent medical care. However, many are critical of the important decision recently written.

The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that the health care costs in Illinois suffered a setback due to this decision. The article argues that health care costs are rising and that doctors are leaving this state due to insurance costs. The article also argues that neurosurgeons are leaving Illinois due to the large health care costs and the American Medical Association argues that medical malpractice insurance stabilized as a direct impact of the statue.

Yet, the paper overlooks a number of factors. First, those states with medical malpractice caps historically have a higher insurance rate than those without. Second there is no empirical evidence that doctors leave states without medical malpractice caps. Finally, and most importantly, 98,000 people die every year due to medical error. Advocates should be more concerned with diminishing medical errors than decreasing medical malpractice costs. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin and Perconti support the recent Illinois Supreme Court decision. It is not only a decision that coheres with the constitution, but is also one that supports patients’ rights.