Mel Herbert MD, Vanessa Cardy MD and Gita Pensa MD
Take Home Points
Supportive coworkers can help with litigation stress.
Focusing on something you enjoy can help.
Pensa had been sued. She was recovering from the event and had begun teaching and helping others with similar experiences. Then they re-litigated the trial years later. So she began participating in a charity event called Dancing with Doctors. This involved training followed by a gala the week before her trial started.
She started training with the charity and her partner who was an internationally ranked, three-time Czech Republic national champion ballroom dancer. Between January and April, she trained and raised funds for the Rhode Island free clinic. The competition can be won in two ways; dancing the best or raising the most money. She set out to raise the most money. She was able to raise $25,420 for the free clinic.
Pensa had never done ballroom dancing before. It was nerve-wracking. She was not thinking about the trial at all until it was over.
It was one of the best things she has ever done for herself. Being open about this process can help us. Letting people into her life was helpful. The nurses Pensa worked with were very supportive and had gone to the courthouse during her first trial to show support. 26 ED staff came to support her at the gala in a party bus.
It is important to tell colleagues and not be afraid. The nurses came to her next trial to support her. They came wearing their scrubs and IDs. It made a difference to the jury to see that there are people who support you and think you are good doctor.
It helps to have a community of people to help you.
What happened? The repeat trial was three weeks long. The verdict was in her favor again. But at the end of the trial, the judge said, “So if there is a motion for a new trial, these are the things that I will need.” However, they did not pursue additional appeal.
She is going to use this as a learning experience and take positives from it. She is going forward and talking about it.
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