To test a physician's reflexes, one need only say the words "malpractice lawsuit."  Virtually all of us have a visceral reaction when we talk about litigation.  While the financial costs of malpractice are what dominate the headlines, the emotional toll associated with malpractice is often much higher.  Because of this, NHMS has been very active for malpractice reform with legislative solutions such as Early Offer, I'm Sorry, and the 519-B Malpractice Panel law.

It is important we remember that individual physicians who are sued often experience fear and isolation -- feelings that affect their confidence and that may alter, or even end, their practice.  Once a suit has been lodged against us, we are immediately instructed by our lawyers to not talk to anyone about it -- thus cutting us off from our personal and professional support networks.  This isolation may last years, as cases crawl through the legal system, and have long term effects on the individual physician.

To lessen this emotional toll and to provide much-needed support to our physician peers who are facing a lawsuit, NHMS is going to explore ways to provide peer support to help our colleagues through one of the most difficult times in their lives. 

NHMS is convening interested physicians to begin to discuss how best to develop a support or "buddy" system.   If you are interested inbeing involved, please e-mail us.  All of us have something to offer.  While NHMS continues to work to improve the malpractice system, we will also strive to help our friends and colleagues in their time of need.