Attorney Michael V. Favia was Chief of Medical and Health-Related Prosecutions for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation for 8 years. He also served as Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Health Care Section Council.
During his time at the Department of Professional Regulation, he became intimately knowledgeable about the operations of the Department and health law in general. In addition to heading the Department’s staff of legal counsel, he also used the invaluable knowledge he gained as a medical malpractice attorney to publish articles in legal journals and give lectures to assist health professionals in effectively dealing with the Department and medical malpractice law.
Now, in private practice, attorney Favia uses this expertise on behalf of clients, who include physicians, pharmacists, health care professionals, health care providers, as well as patients and their families.
He has retained his close ties to the local and medical community and is currently counsel for the following:
Quintarios, Prieto, Wood & Boyer – Present
Illinois Eye Institute Medical Malpractice Task Force, 2002 – Present
Hispanic Service Corporation of America, 2000 – Present
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, 1999 – Present
Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, 1998 – Present
Illinois Medical Malpractice Information
Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits are based predominantly upon tort law. A tort law is a civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, for which the law will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages. One of the primary bases of tort liability is negligence.
As a general rule, Illinois courts have defined negligence as “the failure to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or doing something which a reasonable person would not do.”
In the typical Illinois medical malpractice action, negligence is ordinarily determined by measuring the conduct of the defendant physician against the standard of care of the reasonably careful and prudent medical practitioner. Thus, negligence may be viewed as a breach of the physician’s duty to exercise reasonable skill and care in the treatment of a patient.
In order to recover damages from a physician for malpractice based upon negligence, the patient must prove all four of the following elements:
1. DUTY – the patient must show that the physician owed the patient a particular duty or obligation. This duty, recognized by law as created by the patient-physician relationship, requires the physician to act in accordance with specific norms and standards established by the profession for the protection of patients against unreasonable risks.
2. BREACH OF DUTY – the patient must show that the physician failed to act in accordance with these established norms by any act or omission violating the duty of care owed to the patient.
3. CAUSATION – the patient must show the existence of a causal connection between the act or omission of the physician and the resulting injury. This is commonly known as the legal cause or proximate cause, which differs from medical causation in that it refers to “a” cause and not necessarily “the” cause or even the most immediate case, as is the case with medical causation.
4. DAMAGES – the patient (in some circumstances the plaintiff is someone other than the patient, such as the patient’s parent, spouse, children, or the estate of a deceased patient) must establish that because of the physician’s act or omission, actual loss or damage has been incurred. Damages may include disability and disfigurement, pain and suffering, medical expenses and other financial loss.
Steps to Minimize Medical Malpractice Risks
1. Keep current on medical procedures and standards. Maximize the time you devote to C.M.E. programs.
2. Seek consultations and/or utilize referrals to specialists whenever appropriate. No one physician can know it all.
3. Maintain a “manageable” private practice. Hire competent help and personnel to assist but remember that the physician remains the captain of his ship.
4. Obtain thorough patient histories and maintain good medical records. The importance of keeping thorough written medical records cannot be overemphasized.
5. Inform patients about their medical condition, its prognosis, and the risks involved. Communicate often and ascertain that the patient understands what you are communicating. Memorialize all pertinent conversations. However, if something goes wrong, never admit fault – you may not really have done anything wrong at all.
6. When examining a patient of the opposite sex, have a nurse in the room as a witness. This will avoid the typical “he said/she said” claims.
7. Always maintain adequate medical malpractice insurance coverage ($1+million).