Med-Mal Switcheroo

The Madison County Record Sep. 16, 2004, 11:14am

Most of us know our doctor. We've met them. We've looked into their eyes. We've shaken their hands.

But few of us 'know' our insurance company.

The plaintiffs lawyers who make their livings suing doctors understand this contrast full well. As frequent judge and jury pitchmen, they also understand the crucial role 'humanization' plays in a person's comprehension of one's argument.

That's why Madison County trial lawyers-- with the help of sue-happy tools like Dr. Mark Eavenson (see story, p. 1)--are now vigorously trying to shift blame for the area's medical malpractice crisis from themselves to insurance companies.

Bureaucratic and stuck with business models that don't necessarily aim to please, the insurance industry is a convenient bogeyman.

Trial lawyers are taking this tact as they are keen to the reality that average people in Madison County-- once perhaps ambivalent on the issue of 'tort reform' -- are fast developing opinions as they see their doctors head for the hills.

Therein lies the impetus for the lawyers' brilliant switcharoo strategy.

After years and years of demonizing doctors as 'greedy' and 'careless,' suddenly trial lawyers become the medical community's best friend.

You love doctors? Well, trial lawyers love doctors too!

Illinois Supreme Court candidate Gordon Maag, a former trial lawyer with the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, bragged last week to the Harrisburg Daily Register that he is "the only guy in this race who has defended a doctor or hospital in a medical malpractice case."

Maag says he is 'puzzled' that Illinois doctors aren't supporting his candidacy.

Check Maag's full record as a lawyer and judge on the subject of medical malpractice, doctors say, and their position isn't so puzzling. But we digress.

Trial lawyers' new found love for doctors is opportunistic, and their blame of the insurance industry for a problem they themselves caused is calculated.

Both are disingenuous.

The medical malpractice crisis shoe fits. The trial lawyers deserve to wear it.

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