May 16, 2005

Experts to discuss medical malpractice crisis

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- As the medical malpractice debate continues in Springfield, some of the nation’s leading experts on the issue are gathering next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to discuss possible solutions.

“The Medical Malpractice Crisis: Is There a Solution?” is the topic for the seventh annual SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute. The institute is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, May 20, in the law school courtroom. Registration is $25, and includes workshop materials and lunch. Pre-registration is suggested, but registration is open up to the time of the event.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend any of the sessions and the presenters will be available for interviews. To schedule a specific presenter for an interview, contact law professor W. Eugene Basanta at 618/453-8748.


“When we started putting this program together quite a few months ago our thought was to try and bring together leading national speakers to look at the issue from multiple perspectives, and to explore some different ideas that might provide some solutions,” said law professor and Center for Health Law and Policy co-director W. Eugene Basanta.

Basanta and law professor and center co-director Marshall B. Kapp are serving as moderators.

The institute will provide a “good, meaningful, reasoned discussion of issues and alternatives,” Basanta said.

A donation from Southern Illinois Healthcare supports the program. Sponsors are the law school’s Center for Health Law and Policy, the School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, and the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Even though the program will appeal primarily to physicians, attorneys, health care professionals and people interested in public policy issues, members of the general public also will benefit from attending the institute, Basanta said.

The Journal of Legal Medicine’s annual special symposium issue, due out early next year, will include the Institute’s papers.

The event schedule is:

  • 9 a.m.: Welcome and introductions. Law school Dean Peter C. Alexander, Dr. Thomas J. Firestone, president, Southern Illinois Healthcare, and Theodore R. LeBlang, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Humanities, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
  • 9:15 a.m.: “Health Literacy and Human Dignity: Testing the Limits of the Tort System in the Midst of a Cultural War,” Frank M. McClellan, Temple University, James F. Beasley School of Law.
  • 10:30 a.m.: “Malpractice Reform: Does Fairness Matter?” Maxwell J. Mehlman, Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
  • 11:30 a.m.: Lunch Session. “Is ‘Tort Reform’ Really Reform?” William H. Freivogel, deputy editorial page editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • 1 p.m.: “Medical Malpractice: What Do We Actually Know?” Dr. David A. Hyman, University of Illinois College of Law.
  • 2 p.m.: “No-Fault Compensation in New Zealand: Any Lessons for the United States?” Dr. Marie Bismark, Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management.

Registration is available online at For more information on the institute contact the law school at 618/453-8636.

Achieving excellence in graduate and professional programs, and pursing leadership opportunities to address social and health issues of importance to our region are 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.