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November 21, 2005



Letter submitted to Philadelphia Daily News:

To the editor:

Recent attacks branding Sen. Rick Santorum a hypocrite for supporting a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages because his wife once sued a chiropractor are themselves hypocritical. The same folks who claim to support victims' rights and citizens' access to the courts would deny those rights to Karen Santorum because she happens to be married to a Senator.

"Googled" court documents of the 1999 lawsuit tell a different story from biased media coverage and scathing op-eds which deliberately confuse "economic" and "non-economic" damages.

Sen. Santorum (and doctors) support unlimited "economic" damages, including past and future medical care, lost and potential income, home and child care, vehicles, counseling, and anything else which can be quantified to make a victim "as whole as possible."

"Non-economic damages," including the ephemeral "pain and suffering," are awarded IN ADDITION to "economic" damages. Because "pain and suffering" is non-quantifiable, juries have no basis to arrive at a fair and reasonable amount. "Jackpot" non-economic damages are bankrupting health care, driving doctors out of medicine, and discouraging America's best and brightest from seeking careers in medicine.

Court records prove Karen Santorum, JD, BSN, sought $500,000 for loss of earning capacity, past and future medical care, pain medication, assistance in caring for her children and home, AND "pain and suffering." The jury awarded $350,000 to cover both "economic" AND "non-economic" damages, which a judge later reduced to $175,000.

None of this is inconsistent with Sen. Santorum's support of a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, making recent attacks on his integrity both specious and dishonest.

Suggesting that Rick Santorum, who supports medical liability reform, is a hypocrite because his wife once went to court is as ridiculous as claiming that a doctor who supports patient safety is a hypocrite because his wife once had surgery.

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