(1) The medical review panel shall consist of one attorney admitted to practice law in the State of Nebraska and three physicians who hold unlimited licenses under the laws of this state to practice medicine. The attorney shall act in an advisory capacity and as chairperson of the panel, but shall have no vote.
(2) The medical review panel shall be selected in the following manner:
(a) All physicians engaged in the active practice of medicine in this state, whether in the teaching profession or otherwise, who hold a license to practice medicine shall be available for selection;
(b) Each party to the action shall have the right to select one physician and, upon selection, such physician shall be required to serve. The two physicians thus selected shall select the third physician panelist. If one of the health care providers involved is a hospital, a fourth panelist shall be selected who shall be a hospital administrator selected by the hospital;
(c) When there are multiple plaintiffs or defendants, there shall be only one physician or hospital administrator selected per side. The plaintiff, whether single or multiple, shall have the right to select one physician and the defendant, whether single or multiple, shall have the right to select one physician;
(d) A panelist so selected shall serve, except that for good cause shown he or she may be excused. To show good cause for relief from serving, the panelist shall be required to serve an affidavit upon a judge of a court having jurisdiction over the claim when filed. The affidavit shall set out the facts showing that service would constitute an unreasonable burden or undue hardship. The court may excuse the proposed panelist from serving;
(e) Within twenty days after receipt of notification of a proposed panelist by the plaintiff, the defendants shall select a proposed panelist and advise the plaintiff or his or her attorney;
(f) Within twenty days of receipt of notice of any selection, written challenge without cause may be made to the panel member. Upon challenge, a party shall select another panelist. If multiple plaintiffs or defendants are unable to agree on a physician panelist or if two such challenges are made and submitted, the judge shall submit a list consisting of three qualified panelists and each side shall strike one and the remaining member shall serve in place of the challenged panelist designated by the party; and
(g) The parties may agree on the attorney member of the board or, if no agreement can be reached, then five proposed attorney members shall be designated by the judge having jurisdiction of the cause. The parties shall then each strike two names alternately with the claimant striking first until both sides have stricken two names and the remaining name shall be the attorney member of the panel.
(3) If the members of the medical review panel have not been selected within one hundred twenty days following filing of the complaint required by section 44-2840, the court shall have authority to select members of the panel and to set a specific date for the hearing.