Suicide prevention keynote gets standing ovation at AMSA →

Joey Johnson:  We are honored to introduce our keynote speakers, Dr. Pamela Wible and Robyn Symon. Dr. Wible speaks widely on healthcare delivery and is a best-selling author of Physician Suicide Letters—Answered. When not treating patients Dr. Wible devotes herself to medical student and physician suicide prevention. An inspiring leader and educator of the next generation of physicians, Dr. Wible has been named one of the 2015 Women Leaders in Medicine and TEDMED calls her the “Physician’s Guardian Angel.”

Robyn Symon is a two-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, specializing in documentaries and television series. Her most recent film, Do No Harm focuses on the toxic culture of medicine and the effect on doctors, medical students and their families. We’re also privileged to have with us today, John and Michele Deitl, who will share their personal story of their son, Kevin—a promising medical student who was lost to suicide. Please join me in welcoming, with much emotion, Dr. Wible, Robyn Symon, and the Deitl’s to the stage. 

Robyn Symon: Thank you so much, it’s so great to be here, it’s an honor. This is actually the first time the film has been shown outside of MD Anderson. I took a little pit stop on the way over from LA to screen it. It was fascinating because it was a combination of administrators, faculty and residents. After the screening, people were in shock, the administrators were there to defend what they were doing or trying to do, some of the faculty were concerned about wellness were there to say, “This is just like lip service.” And the residents were kind of scared about what was happening and if they had any power to change anything. This film, we hope, is a conversation starter about the problem and we need to come up with solutions together because it’s complex. 

How many of you have seen the film last night? What did you think? Good? Awesome. It’s funny, I was watching the SIM operation here earlier and it just reminded me (I’m not a doctor, maybe I’m hoping an honorary one after spending four years at med school) if you ever go out to dinner with a group of physicians things can get very strange. We’re eating and all of a sudden (many times over the past four years) the conversation will turn to their latest surgery, with great detail, “Oh, we made this incision and there was this big mess there and he cut and I was looking at the blood spurting” and I’m looking at my food and it’s like, “This meal is over.” And they were like, “It was nothing.” So, it’s really an honor to be able to eat and talk like that. You guys are brilliant, brilliant. But just keep that in mind when you’re in mixed company. . .

I actually started this journey four years ago in 2014. Someone had sent me an op-ed story from the New York Times about these two young doctors who jumped from the roofs of their hospitals. Brilliant, young residents with their whole lives ahead of them. They had gone through so much to get to where they were and they jumped, right off the ledge. I just couldn’t understand it. So, I started to look into the reasons why; the competitions, the bullying, the hazing, the pimping, the sleep deprivation, the lack of coping skills that you’re given, its like a time bomb waiting to go off. So, let me show you this trailer and then we can talk a little bit about the reality of what’s happening and then let’s talk about you and how we can all make a difference together. So let’s roll that.

View official documentary website and request to screen film

Robyn Symon: Not to scare you . . . it’s still a noble calling but, it’s time for change. This has been a hidden epidemic for decades, nothing’s been done about it. I think with the advent of social media now is the time that we can change because we can all be in touch. It’s interesting, firemen, policemen, they function as teams and when things go wrong, they have each other to support each other. But physicians, for some reason, function like islands. So they don’t tend to lean on each other. Weakness is frowned upon. 

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Dr. Wible Keynote: “Act, Don’t Ask” →

Dr. Wible’s AMSA keynote from March 10, 2018, is transcribed and edited below. Click here for FULL keynote address—that received a standing ovation!

Pamela Wible: Alright I’m a little sleep deprived, I was in this room after the film last night until 1:00 in the morning, hanging out with medical students. It was awesome!

I went into medicine (probably like a lot of you) thinking that I was going to just help individual patients one-on-one. I really had no idea that what I was going to end up doing is help heal the entire medical system. I’d like you to open your minds to the idea that you can do so much more than helping that one individual in front of you. You can actually heal entire groups of people at once. You can heal entire healthcare systems—by using your voice and your power to heal.

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Physician suicide at epidemic levels in USA, India →

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Today a physician told me she lost 3 colleagues to suicide in the last 2 months. 

Loma Linda Hospital just lost 3 young doctors to suicide in 6 months. 

Mount Sinai had 3 docs jump in less than 2 years—from the same building.

An anesthesiologist recently told me he lost 8 of his colleagues to suicide.

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What I told Dr. Oz about these 757 doctor suicides →

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On March 22 Dr. Oz aired our segment “Doctors Who Snapped” about the doctor suicide crisis. He interviews Janae Sharp, a widow who lost her husband John to suicide as a medical student; Ashley Edwards, a reporter who covered the recent Mount Sinai suicide cluster; Robyn Symon, the filmmaker of Do No Harm documentary exposing the hidden doctor suicide epidemic; and me, Pamela Wible, MD, a physician suicide awareness advocate and author of Physician Suicide Letters—Answered.  

Mehmet Oz: Three young doctors jump separately to their deaths in New York City. A prominent surgeon found dead in his apartment with a knife sticking out of his chest. A surgeon accused of sneaking up behind a nurse, choking her with an elastic cord. These are the most recent headlines and stories of a gripping health crisis that’s just beginning to unfold. To be honest I had a pretty hard time emotionally preparing for this because it hits so close to home. Today we’re investigating the hidden epidemic of doctors who snapped. Would you know if the person you trust most with your life is on the brink of taking their own? View Oz TV clip #1

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Dr. OZ investigates America’s doctor suicide crisis →

Meet activists on the front lines of uncovering our doctor suicide crisis on Thursday, March 22. Emmy-winning filmmaker Robyn Symon shares scenes from her forthcoming documentary Do No Harm: Exposing the Hippocratic Hoax. Reporter Ashley Edwards reveals how she discovered the recent Mount Sinai suicide cluster. Janae Sharp tells of the loss of her husband to suicide as a promising young medical student and I answer questions about medicine’s hidden epidemic plus read excerpts from Physician Suicide Letters—Answered. Go to doctoroz.com & enter your zip code top right for showtime. Set your DVR to record. You won’t want to miss this show . . .

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