New outlook for juries

Five years ago, attorney Rex Carr probably would have won the $11 million judgment he sought in a medical malpractice lawsuit over the death of a young mother.

But we were reminded once again this week that the pendulum has swung in Madison County. The jurors in the case didn’t buy Carr’s argument that Collinsville physician Patrick Zimmerman should have had a mole he removed from the woman biopsied, and that if he had, he would have detected her cancer. Instead they felt that Zimmerman provided reasonable care.

This is the latest law suit to go to trial in Madison County and end with zero being awarded to the plaintiff.

Maybe Zimmerman’s statement rang true with jurors that he would have tested for cancer if there were any hint of a problem — not only for the woman’s health, but because he and other local doctors fear being sued.

People are fed up with the burden lawsuits have placed on our medical system — from doctors having to practice defensive medicine to cover themselves, to expensive, hard-to-obtain medical malpractice insurance that has driven doctors away from the metro-east.

ISMIE, the state’s main medical malpractice provider, said recently that all the focus on the medical malpractice crisis has made people start to realize that someone has to pay for the costs of our litigious society, and that someone is them. That’s why ISMIE believes claims against doctors are down. And that may be part of the reason that some juries in Madison County are passing on handing out multimillion-dollar judgments.
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