Imagine that your father goes to the hospital. He’s sweating profusely. He’s overweight with a history of smoking. He has pain in his chest. There is pain going down his left arm. His ankles are swollen. He’s having trouble breathing.
If you are reading this, odds are that you aren’t a doctor, but it doesn’t take a medical degree to know that this person is probably having a heart attack. If the hospital would send you on your way home stating that it’s just indigestion or something ridiculous like that and you were to drop dead, you’d likely have a great medical malpractice lawsuit. Or more correctly speaking, your estate would have the lawsuit, it would pretty much suck for you.
But if you had this treatment at Cook County Hospital or any other public hospital and your estate tried to sue them, the case would get tossed out right away. That’s because you can’t sue a public hospital for failure to diagnose a problem as they are granted immunity from such lawsuits under Illinois law.
While I appreciate that they take care of people for free, why should they or UIC or anyone else get off the hook if they have a drastic mistake? This is how we prevent these mistakes from happening again in the future. It’s not even a damage cap on what you can recover against these places, it prevents you from suing them for failure to diagnose a problem, no matter how obvious, at all.
And you can be against medical malpractice or “not the suing type” to not be in favor of this law. There is no other realistic way to weed out these types of bad doctors if you don’t have some sort of checks and balance system.
So if you have a choice, go to a place that you can sue. That doesn’t mean that they won’t screw up on you, but if they failed to diagnose a problem on a past patient, they’ve probably already paid a price for it and have a system in place to prevent it from happening again.
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