A 12-year-old girl was injured on a ride at a Wisconsin Dells amusement park after falling 40 feet when the mechanism that was supposed to break her fall didn’t work, according to the Associated Press.
The girl was at the Extreme World amusement park on the Terminal Velocity, which is supposed to give riders the feeling of “an unattached, controlled free fall,” when she had the accident July 30. Riders are strapped into a harness, brought up an elevator, and then released straight down into an airtube-supported net.
But when the girl was released for her free fall, a safety net mechanism failed to break her fall, and she hit the ground, according to Lake Delton police.
The girl was visiting the Wisconsin Dells with her family, who live out of state. She was taken to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison for treatment, and details of her injuries weren’t disclosed.
In a classic example of how the news media gets played on tort reform is the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about how Wisconsin’s medical malpractice fund had negative assets for the past two fiscal years. The culprit wasn’t big jury verdicts or trial lawyers. The problem happened because of the exact opposite. The fund had paid out so much less than it had charged doctors and hospitals in premiums, that it was an easy target for funds when the Wisconsin state government was nearly broke a year ago. The governor and lawmakers tapped into it for $200 million to help balance the state budget, an audit has found. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/89515217.html
The dismal economy (not large malpractice claims against the fund) have also helped to deplete it, according to a story Tuesday on the new audit by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. To blame this shortfall on big claims is absurd. The reason the fund is there is because there could be people with very serious injuries caused by doctor’s neglect who need to be compensated. If those claims had been so “huge” then how did the fund get a $200 million surplus?
The Legislative Bureau Audit said that Gov. Jim Doyle and the Legislature took $200 million from the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund in 2007 to help balance the state budget. At the time, the justification was that the fund had a surplus and could afford the withdrawal, but the fund hasn’t performed well since then.
The fund had a net balance of minus-$109 million as of June last year, because reimbursements to injured patients were greater than cash in the fund, according to the audit. In the prior year, the fund’s balance was minus-$61.5 million. Insurers, which this fund is, must keep substantial reserves, just like a gambling house, because you are going to have bad days, day years.
Frankly, the story is nothing but tempest in a teapot. The Wisconsin government is short of cash because the real estate market and economy crashed. Foreclosures mean people don’t pay their property taxes. Unemployment means people don’t pay state income taxes. That the Wisconsin government found a source for funds when it needed it most, doesn’t threaten the practice of medicine in Wisconsin. It certainly is no grounds to fundamentally change how victims of doctors mistakes and wrongdoing are compensated.
An Illinois man was killed Sunday in a car accident not far from the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/85774507.html
Darrell Pantazes, 51, of Skokie, Ill., died when his car crashed into another vehicle, mowed down a light pole and then hit a building on University Avenue.
In a second accident this past weekend, Brandon Cooper, 21, of Stroughton, Wis., was killed when he went off the road and hit a tree in Dunn.
Cooper was dead at the scene of his accident, while Pantazes was pronounced dead at the University of Wisconsin Emergency Room.
Authorities blamed alcohol for playing a part in the two unrelated fatal crashes.
In a press release, the University of Wisconsin-Madison police department said that it tried to stop Pantazes’s car at just after midnight Sunday when they spotted him driving the wrong way on W. Johnson Street.
But Pantazes kept going, still moving in the wrong direction, when it hit a light pole and then flew up, crashing into a building.