Illinois Trial Lawyers Association President Todd A. Smith recently responded to a Daily Herald editorial that repeated falsehoods and misconceptions surrounding doctor supply in Illinois and perpetuated the myth that Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit caps will lower health care costs. Mr. Smith pointed out that the Daily Herald article regarding doctors fleeing our state cited the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine so-called “study.” The suggestion is that doctors are fleeing Illinois because of Chicago personal injury lawyers and medical malpractice lawsuits. The study, however, clearly states that the Chicagoland area physician market is “oversaturated.” We have more doctors than are otherwise needed, which appears to be the opposite of doctors fleeing.
The survey showed that a majority of the physicians leaving the state of Illinois are those that never planned to stay. The new doctors are returning to their home states as originally planned, not fleeing the state because of the fear of our civil justice system. Additionally, facts show that the number of doctors in Illinois has been steadily increasing. According to the American Medical Association, the number of Illinois physicians licensed and engaged in patient care has never declined in the past 45 years. The editorial that Mr. Smith was responding to called for caps on non-economic damages, which will do nothing to bring down liability insurance premiums, attract doctors to our state, or most importantly, protect patients from negligent doctors. Medical malpractice lawsuit caps have been ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court three times. Mr. Smith urged that it is time to move the discussion forward and focus on the issue that will truly benefit doctors and patients.
Visit the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association to read the entire letter from Mr. Smith debunking the Illinois medical malpractice caps argument.