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Illinois Reps Hear Testimony on Health Care Availability

By Chicago Public Radio

Chicago – Several Illinois Congressional representatives listened to testimony Monday on the availability of health care in the state.

Doctors and health care officials say high malpractice insurance rates are driving doctors out of the state. The Illinois Hospital Association recently found there are no doctors performing brain surgery south of Springfield.

Lisa Kasten of Belleville says her father died after being transported 45 minutes seeking treatment for a head injury.

"Do I know whether or not he would have survived had we had a neurosurgeon right there? I can't tell you that," Kasten said. "But what I do know is, my family was robbed, and my father was robbed, of the opportunity to know if it would have made a difference."

Kasten and others say the state should limit malpractice settlements in order to lower insurance rates.

Opponents to that idea say patients need the right to sue doctors, especially when medical mistakes lead to permanent injury or death.