Where Can We Get Help?
A personal physician - Many of us healthcare professionals already have a personal physician who can serve as an important resource during the stressful period of litigation. If we lack such a relationship, this is a good time to establish one. Litigation support programs for physicians can also provide extra assistance during this stressful time.
A personal physician can begin by taking a complete history and performing a physical examination. We should mention as part of our history any significant adverse event in our practice, including being named in a lawsuit. If the source of our complaint is a physical illness, proper diagnosis and the initiation of treatment can begin immediately. A thorough workup can dismiss our lingering concerns that the symptoms are due to some hidden physical disease. If the symptoms persist, the physician can refer us for a psychiatric evaluation.
Respected colleagues who are psychiatrists or psychologists - Some physicians and healthcare professionals are conversant with the signs and symptoms of emotional illness and are comfortable seeking direct consultation with respected colleagues.
Family members, friends, colleagues, or fellow church members may have suggestions of consultants based on their own personal experience with mental health treatment, and this is probably one of the most common ways professionals obtain referrals. It is important to note that not every referral is immediately successful. Given the sensitive nature of emotional concerns, we may need to meet with one or more different mental health professionals to find one with whom we feel comfortable and understood. It is important to remember that the competence of the professional is the essential ingredient of successful treatment.
Resources associated with the medical malpractice insurance company - Some malpractice insurance companies, sensitive to the emotional status of physicians who are involved in litigation, provide in-house psychiatric and psychological resources while others provide financial support to their insured physicians for either group or individual therapy.
Resources associated with the local medical or psychiatric society. Many of these societies have litigation support programs for physicians and provide referrals to appropriate mental health professionals who have experience with the nature of our problem.
Resources associated with the local psychological and social worker professional societies. The nature of the problem will often determine the professional we consult for a specific complaint. Psychiatrists are medically trained professionals skilled in diagnosis, prescribing medication, and conducting psychotherapy. Other mental health professionals offer services to sued healthcare professionals that include marital counseling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapies, and other supportive therapies.