Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bad doctors thrive in Illinois

Illinois Public Act 94-677 revealed that there currently is no oversight of physicians and surgeons in Illinois. Public Act 94-677 proposes to implement a "Medical Disciplinary Board" if and when caps are placed on monetary damages for non-economic damages. In that regard, the creation of a disciplinary board (as an oversight for bad doctors and a protection for the public) is relegated to the position of a pork add-on to the primary bill.

Apples and oranges.

First, it is shocking and unacceptable that the state of Illinois does not have a viable and functioning disciplinary board for its doctors. Lawmakers and the medical community should be scrambling to enact legislation that establishes a medical disciplinary board. It should be the primary legislation. Physicians are generally intelligent people. It therefore astonishes me that physicians do not realize that bad doctors demean the entire medical profession. And, the public is angered when doctors protect each other.

The less respect that the public has for the medical profession, the more likely people are to (1) sue doctors; (2) judge doctors as responsible for errors; and (3) award injured patients lots of money.

Second, there is absolutely no reason to delay the implementation of the medical disciplinary board as we wait for a final decision on the constitutionality of Public Act 94-677. A medical disciplinary board would address the issue of bad doctors in Illinois. The issue of caps on non-economic damages necessarily presumes liability. In that there would be no issue of damages without a finding or determination of liability, the Illinois General Assembly's focus should be on the victim patients as opposed to the wrongdoing bad doctors.

Instead of legislating caps, the General Assembly's time would be better spent mandating oversight and discipline of the doctors who made the caps an issue!

In my particular situation, the orthopedic surgeon Chris Dangles, M.D. performed unnecessary surgeries on me that caused permanent damage. I requested that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) investigate my concerns and, if appropriate, discipline Dr. Dangles. The IDFPR website claims that it has the duty to license, investigate and discipline doctors in Illinois. However, consistent with the need articulated in Public Act 94-677, IDFPR was in actuality not designed or intended to investigate and discipline doctors.

The IDFPR declined to investigate my allegations of misconduct by Dr. Chris Dangles. In effect, that denial forces injured patients into filing court cases. What could be resolved by a disciplinary board unnecessarily becomes yet another cog in the wheels of civil justice.

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