Doctor-in-training forced to work during miscarriage

Another doctor speaks out on the inhumanity of medical training. 

“We don’t get time to recover our own health issues and when I was in residency there were 2 separate [occasions], I remember the day in the ER. I actually had to tell my colleague, ‘I’m sorry if I’m a little emotional because I’m miscarrying today as I’m going through my shift.’ And that happened actually on 2 separate occasions and it was just kind of considered the norm. And that I guess is what I was just going to say. That it’s unusual that you don’t even get a moment to sit down or something. It’s just—you just deal with it.”

When asked for her call to action, she replied: “I want to say, ‘F*ck you. I need to rest of the day off!'”

Outraged? Have a similar experience? Please share your story below.

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Pamela Wible, M.D., reports on human rights violations in medicine. Struggling? Need help? Contact Dr. Wible. Filmed at Breitenbush Hot Springs physician retreat. Video by Geve.

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4 comments on “Doctor-in-training forced to work during miscarriage
  1. Jess says:

    Hi Pamela. I began to miscarry during a 24h in-house call during my first year of fellowship. I called the fellow on back up call but he refused to come in and cover for me because he had to go to a “very important” golf outing (I did tell him I was having a miscarriage when I asked him up come in). None of the other fellows were in town to come in because it was over a holiday weekend and my attending could not come in. As I look back and reflect on this I realize what a f*cked up medical training system we all participated in.

  2. J. Kordich says:

    I had a miscarriage in my 3rd year of school and was told by one of my classmates that I had no business being in medical school if I had children. I had two children at that time.

    I have experienced some challenges in my practice as well. Colleagues are ruthless with their suggestions and comments. I was told that my practice was a “hobby” not a real practice. I’ve had 5 children during the course of my career and I took every single one of them to my office so that I could breast feed between patients. The patients never minded that there was a baby in the office but I did get nasty comments from my colleagues. Apparently it was ok to have your dogs in the reception area but not a child in your personal office. I have had to juggle work and home at the same time. One crosses into the next. Being Dr. is an identity you bring with you everywhere. I was never Mrs. I’ve been Doctor in the middle of the night at the same time I was up with a cranky baby. I eventually gave up surgery because I didn’t want to be sleep deprived in the OR. That was a choice I have not regretted; my kids were/are worth it.

    I started getting sick last fall. Vomiting profusely; one time in front of a patient. My life fell apart. I hit rock bottom in every way imaginable. Ultimately, I was unable to practice for a few months. My once thriving practice was all but lost. I was 94 lbs when a diagnosis was finally made. I have severe gastroparesis. I was told if you don’t gain weight we will be inserting a feeding tube. My brain was not functioning properly in the most acute phase. As I learned to manage the disorder and tried to put my life back in order, I experienced a similar response as I had in medical school, “…Maybe it’s time to consider another career.” I guess having a chronic medical condition, however manageable it is, disqualifies you from being a doctor. There is a zero tolerance for physician illness. Having a family, especially a big family, disqualifies you from being a doctor.

    I love my patients and I love my family. I shouldn’t be forced to choose between the two. It hasn’t been easy but I don’t give up because helping patients is rewarding…better reimbursement rates would be great though! Besides, what other career would I be qualified for? Someone suggested managing a McDonald’s….

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