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Rick Santorum Argued for Medical Malpractice Caps After Wife Sued Chiropractor for Malpractice

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Republican senator who is best known for his unsuccessful 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns, is guilty of saying one thing and doing another.  In 1999, Santorum’s wife, Karen, sued her chiropractor for $500,000 after his treatment of her sore back caused further injury that required surgery. Former Senator Santorum testified in the case that his wife’s quality of life had been diminished, with the injury having harmed her active lifestyle and her ability to keep up with household tasks. Mrs. Santorum was awarded $350,000 (she ultimately received $175,000).

Hypocrisy
Just 5 years prior to his wife’s lawsuit, Santorum fought to implement legislation that would place a $250,000 cap on damages for pain and suffering, the very injustices that he testified his wife had to face after receiving poor care. Not surprisingly, when pushed by the media on the issue during his 2012 presidential bid, Santorum said that his wife did not sue for pain and suffering.  Instead, he argued that his wife fought to be compensated for lost income and costs stemming from the injury (medical costs associated with her injury and surgery were shown to total less than $20,000). The judge who initially presided over the trial later reduced her award to $175,000, citing Mrs. Santorum’s own words that the operation gave her “immediate relief” and that she required no further treatment after the surgery.

The Only Recourse We Have
With a new Republican administration and Republicans controlling the House and the Senate, medical malpractice caps are a very real threat to justice for those who have been injured. The argument that many such as Rick Santorum make is that pain and suffering cannot be definitively measured and therefore shouldn’t amount to much in medical malpractice payouts. Those who fight for victim’s rights know that monetary compensation is the only recourse Americans have and that as it stands today, there is no other way to fairly indemnify a victim who has been injured by the very hands they’ve entrusted with caring for them.