Sen. Frank Watson

GREENVILLE--Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson (R-Greenville) wants the Governor’s special mediator on Medical Malpractice Reform to come to Southern Illinois for a citizen forum.

Watson has issued an invitation to Judge Donald P. O’Connell to take part in a public forum on malpractice reform like one held in Collinsville last year. O’Connell was selected Sept. 16 by Governor Blagojevich to serve as special mediator on Medical Malpractice Reform.

"Ultimately, discussions will probably take place behind closed doors with only a small group having access to negotiators," Watson wrote in a written release."Before that occurs, it is critical that we take the issue out of the backrooms and away from the special interests and hear from people who are directly impacted by the loss of physicians in Illinois."

Watson says he has asked Judge O'Connell to provide him with possible dates when he could travel to Southern Illinois.

O'Connell, who couldn't be reached for comment, formerly served as Chief Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court.

Watson is a strong supporter of caps on non-economic damages as a means of lowering legal costs for doctors.

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