Counterpoint to Hopkins 'Great Hoax'
To the Editor:
I am writing in reference to John Hopkins' editorial, "The Great Hoax: Tort Reform," which was published last month in The Record and in The Telegraph.
Lawyer Hopkins' words -- "The Hoax, BIG LIE, forces of dark deceit" -- and blatant scare tactics certainly apply to his piece. Madison County has the reputation for being a judicial "Hellhole" not because of medical tort reform, but because of our large cadre of trial lawyers bringing in cases from out of our county, and jurisdiction.
Medical tort reform brought relief to fleeing physicians in Texas, Louisiana, and even California. You can check on that. Louisiana and Texas were losing their OBs, and neurosurgical communities, as we were here in Madison and St. Clair counties.
Lack of tort reform greatly increases the cost of malpractice insurance for your physicians. If possible they must raise their fees. You, the consumer, end up paying for it.
There is not a physician who doesn't worry about being sued. It's in the back of your mind on a daily basis, even though you have done nothing wrong.
Hopkins denies the huge cost of "defensive medicine." Believe me it is there, and it is huge. Check with any emergency room or ER physician. Again, you pay for it.
Last of all, Madison and St. Clair counties lost approximately 200 physicians before the tort reform bill was passed. How many of you and your friends had to look for new physicians?
I hear by the grapevine that since the Illinois Supreme Court's decision declaring the Illinois' tort reform bill unconstitutional, that we are now losing some young recruits -- physicians who were thinking about coming to Madison County. They have changed their minds.
Have you tried to find a primary care physician for yourself, or a loved one lately? I have, and it is not easy. Creative approaches to medical malpractice-tort reform (such as health courts) are now being considered by interested groups.
So, lawyer Hopkins, if you were my patient, you would be getting a registered letter from me, stating that I can no longer act as your family's physician. I would naturally give you two to four weeks to find a new doctor.
Leo R. Green, M.D.
Retired family physician