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Most Illinois Hospital Complaints Go Uninvestigated By State Officials

Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys know that access to the judicial system remains vital to ensure that victims of Illinois medical malpractice can seek recourse and wrongdoers are held accountable for the consequences of their conduct. There remains a misperception among many trying to take away rights of medical mistake victims that alternative routes of accountability are just as good as the actual court system. On one hand this argument completely forgets the inherent right to fair access to the legal system guaranteed by our nation’s founders. On the other they seem to ignore the fact that the court system is the very body which has developed over hundreds of years to fairly and accurately deal with disagreements among community members.

The way that some loud tort reform proponents show disdain for the court system is both filled with factual inaccuracies and downright dangerous. These individuals and businesses often believe that there remain various other ways to ensure that victims are accounted for and wrongdoers are held to task for their misconduct. Those claims bear little connection to reality. For example, just last week the Chicago Tribune explained how the state of Illinois declined to investigate the vast majority of hospital complaints.

The story explains how hundreds of patient complaints were essentially ignored by state officials, even those involving serious instances of patient abuse. For example, one patient reported to officials that a bacterial infection was spreading through the facility, killing one patient and sickening others. Nurses and doctors at the location failed to take reasonable precautions like wearing gowns and gloves, the patient claims. However, Illinois officials reacted to the complaint y doing nothing. Similar stories of inaction abound. A case of severe physical assault on a patient by a staffer was ignored, as was a claim of a near fatal drug overdose at an areas facility. Officials didn’t simply refuse to provide redress, they refused to look into these matters at all.

All told, according to the Tribune report, Illinois Department of Public Health officials declined to investigate 85% of the 560 hospital complaints received in its office last year. Not only do these statistics betray a real failure of oversight on the part of the state body, but some suggest that the actions violate federal law. Those allegations involving serious harm and death are usually required to be investigated within 48 hours per federal rules. The problem, say state officials, goes back to money. The state’s regulators have said that they do not have the funds to pay investigators to look into these matters. Not surprisingly, proposals to provide funds to adequately look into these charges have been fought by the hospital industry via lobbyists in Springfield for years.

Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers know that access to the court system remains a bedrock principle of our national system of accountability. Claims to the contrary about alternative routes to justice and fairness are misplaced. The fact remains that most claims of Illinois medical malpractice receive no actual investigation outside of the one conducted by the victim and their representatives themselves via use of the state’s civil justice system.

In Other News: This blog and our companion blog–Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog–were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

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