October 15, 2004

Attorney, author to discuss medical malpractice

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - Attorney and nationally recognized author Philip K. Howard will address the current medical malpractice system when he delivers the 2004 Dr. Arthur Grayson Distinguished Lecture next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's law school.

Howard is founder and chair of Common Good, a bipartisan coalition that seeks to restore sense and reliability to American law. Howard will discuss the effects of law on medicine during his lecture, which begins at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, in the law school auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover the lecture. Philip Howard will be available for interviews after the lecture. For more information contact Michael P. Ruiz, director of admissions, media and community affairs for the law school at 618/453-8858.

Howard is "a nationally recognized author and we are very pleased to host him," law school Dean Peter C. Alexander said. "I think he will be a fascinating speaker."Howard is the author of two critically acclaimed books, "The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America," and "The Collapse of the Common Good: How America's Lawsuit Culture Undermines Our Freedom."

Howard was a very successful Wall Street mergers and acquisitions lawyer when he became interested in how well, or how poorly, the American legal system was doing its job, said SIUC law professor Marshall B. Kapp, the Garwin Distinguished Professor of Law and Medicine.

Common Good is "dedicated to examining the viability of the American legal system and recommending changes in the system itself that they think are appropriate to restore common sense to our daily lives," Kapp said.

Common Good's 32-member advisory board includes numerous national figures in education, health care, law, business and public policy, such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; former U.S. senators George McGovern, D-South Dakota, and Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyoming; former U.S. attorneys general Griffin B. Bell and Richard Thornburgh; former deputy U.S. attorney general Eric Holder; Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO, New York-Presbyterian Hospital; Dr. Paul A. Marks, president emeritus of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Robert A. Kagan, a professor of political science and law at the University of California-Berkeley. Former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, founder of SIUC's Public Policy Institute, was an advisory board member prior to his death in December.

Howard will address the current system, its impact on patient care, access to care and affordability of care, and how "we could do a better job in a way that respects peoples' rights but doesn't paralyze health care providers or discourage good quality care at affordable prices," said Kapp.

Howard is a periodic contributor to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1974, and a bachelor's degree, with honors, from Yale University in 1970.

The Garwin Family Foundation, created in 1993 for the purpose of fostering educational and academic research, funds the Grayson Distinguished Lecture. Dr. Leo Garwin, who died in July 2003 at the age of 85, was a founding member of the foundation. The lecture honors Garwin's brother-in-law, a Los Angeles surgeon who died in 1990.

The Grayson Lecture each year addresses a current issue in health law and public policy, and medical malpractice, both locally and nationally, is at the center of health law and policy today, Kapp said.

"When you talk about medical malpractice, one of the things that makes it interesting here is Southern Illinois is such a great microcosm of what is going on nationally," Kapp said. "It you want to understand the national situation you look at Southern Illinois and just magnify it many fold."

Addressing social and health issues in our region is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.