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.