Carbondale, Ill., sent a message to Gov. Rod Blagojevich and members of the Illinois General Assembly last week that they need to address the state's medical malpractice crisis.
The Carbondale City Council voted 4-1 with one abstention on July 6 to approve an ordinance limiting noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases to three times actual damages, provided the injury occurred within the city. The ordinance, presented by Mayor Brad Cole, also will prevent either party from moving such cases to courts in other counties.
In May, the only two neurosurgeons in Carbondale began moving their practices out of state, citing soaring medical malpractice insurance premiums. Their departure left the southern third of Illinois without a neurosurgeon.
According to the ordinance, other physicians are considering leaving Carbondale, and the loss of the two neurosurgeons has had "a deleterious effect on the health, safety and welfare of (the city's) citizens." The ordinance's goal is to "allow physicians to obtain medical malpractice insurance at a reasonable rate."