R. Austin Wallace, MD
Chairman, President and CEO

Letter from the ChairmanFebruary 2018

"Thanks to Our Everyday Heroes"

I am a huge sports fan, and I intensely experience the highs and lows when teams that I favor win or lose. Often the superlative athletes in sports contests are called heroes. However, consider the consequences if a mistake is made during a game: a football is dropped in the end zone, a batter strikes out with the bases loaded, a jump shot goes awry while the home team is a point behind in the game is on the line… definitely not life or death. True heroes to me are those in the armed services who are in harm’s way while in the service of our country, law enforcement personnel and firefighters who run toward a burning building while most are running from it, and, indeed, my fellow physicians who deal with extreme peril on a routine basis.

Obviously, our servicemen and women, law enforcement personnel, and firefighters are quite courageous, putting their lives on the line on a regular basis in hostile environments, and they are most assuredly deserving of our utmost respect. However, physicians quite frequently put themselves in perilous situations, as well. Consider the surgeon performing a lifesaving operation on an HIV/AIDS patient, knowing that even a small nick in the surgical glove could be fatal. Consider the physician treating extremely infectious patients without self-regard or reservation, or the cardiovascular surgeon or the neurosurgeon who holds life’s essence, the heart or the brain, in hers or her hands. Consider the psychiatrist treating extremely violent patients, again without concern for personal consequences. I could go on and on. The cruel irony is that if everything does not go perfectly well in such situations (and, on occasion, even if it does,) a plaintiff’s lawyer can be found who will sue. Please know that we at the West Virginia Mutual Insurance Company consider you to indeed be everyday heroes, and we stand ready to be of assistance if our help regrettably becomes necessary. We are Physicians Insuring Physicians.

Sincerely,
R. Austin Wallace, M.D.