District 44 'Week in Review':

Illinois schools and medical malpractice addressed

From Sen. Bill Brady          Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 24, 2004] 

"Med mal" negotiations resume

Former Chief Judge Donald P. O'Connell of the Cook County Circuit Court has been appointed to serve as mediator in the stalled negotiations over medical malpractice reform in Illinois.

Judge O'Connell is considered a leading mediator in Illinois. He was recognized by Chicago Lawyer Magazine for most consecutive years as the leading judge for settlements of significant injury and wrongful death cases.

Negotiations over medical malpractice broke down in July. Discussions between all interested parties began early in the year with a list of more than 50 areas of disagreement. By the final weeks of the overtime spring legislative session, two issues kept the parties apart -- personal asset protection for doctors and protection for hospitals against claims arising from actions by contractual doctors who practice at their facilities. Lawmakers left Springfield in mid-July without a resolution on medical malpractice reform.

Since 2001, O'Connell has served as special counsel to the University of Illinois hospital system, where he advises executives on medical negligence issues. He will complete his service with the U of I this month. In addition, he conducts private mediations in catastrophic injury, wrongful death and commercial cases, and continues to conduct conferences on successful mediation techniques and strategies in complex areas like medical malpractice.

I was pleased to work with Dr. Tom Pliura, a physician from LeRoy, to initiate the medical malpractice discussion last year. Pliura organized a demonstration by Illinois doctors in Springfield on Feb. 26, 2003, to raise public awareness of the medical liability insurance crisis that is driving physicians and hospitals out of business and leaving Illinois citizens with fewer health care options.


[to top of second column in this article]

Education law has nothing for schoolchildren

The so-called education reform legislation signed into law last week is nothing more than window dressing and has no meaningful changes to help the schoolchildren of Illinois.

I initially supported the legislation, but on May 18 I asked to be removed as a sponsor when I saw the direction that the legislation was heading. Senate Bill 3000 does not address funding inequity among schools, poor educational performance, reducing state mandates and regulations on local schools, or the future role of regional superintendents throughout the state.

What the new law does is terminate seven of the nine current members of the State Board of Education and allow the governor to appoint new members, which he will then be allowed to terminate at his discretion for stated reasons of incompetence, malfeasance and neglect of duty.

During the almost 12 years that I have served in Springfield, we have done nothing but pass the buck when it comes to our state's greatest resource -- our children. We need to take responsibility, which is why I stood at press conferences with the governor when he first introduced this piece of legislation after his State of the State address in January. When the governor first came forward with his proposal, he wanted to reform and change education.

Now I stand in strong opposition to this new law because it has been watered down for political reasons. This new law does nothing. The Illinois Lottery looks like it does more for education than this new law.

[From Sen. Bill Brady, 44th District]

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