Hospital saves doctor’s life, then bullies her and threatens termination for disability


Dear Dr. Wible,

I am writing to you with great sadness, but with relentless determination to ignite change. I am a doctor with a disability. Two years ago I began residency training in pediatrics. The privilege was overwhelming as I stood a doctor in the very halls where I had been wheeled in as a patient with a brain tumor. I couldn’t believe that I had actually made it, that I was alive, and that I would be given the great gift of caring for others. I fulfilled my dream and my promise to my neurosurgeons—that one day I would walk through the doors of this hospital as a doctor. 

But my dream has slowly been taken away from me. I fought to complete my pediatric training, but my program fought harder to discriminate, retaliate, and punish me for my differences. Early on I began experiencing significant difficulty with sleep deprivation. I was threatened with termination for requesting formal ADA accommodations and told I would be fired if I proved unable to endure 80-90 hour work weeks, 28 hours of continuous work without sleep, and up to 14 days without a break. My body was resilient as I had survived 2 brain tumors and 3 brain surgeries, but was left with permanent (yet mild) physical challenges. My residency program was well aware of my needs but chose to label me as weak. I was humiliated and criticized as unfit to practice medicine. I tried to tough it out and power through the grueling schedule I was forced to work. I would be fired if I didn’t. 

I recall arriving home one day after a 28-hour shift and being unable to walk up the stairs to my house. My body was shutting down, my morale was nearly gone, and I needed someone to understand. My oncologist became increasingly alarmed that I was being bullied for my disability, yet it was one of the graduate medical education administrators who took my situation into her own hands as she went over the heads of my program. After being denied formal ADA accommodations for 2 years, I was finally granted a work-hour adjustment. 

Then all of the sudden I experienced an abrupt shift in my evaluations. Suddenly, my performance was well below average with a knowledge base of “sand, not stone.” I was warned that I was too polite, too nice, and that I needed to become more arrogant if I was going to make it as a doctor. My program director explained to me that she “didn’t care how residents conducted themselves as long as they didn’t kill anyone.” I was told to “turn off my moral compass” and that “you do not have to be a good person to be a good doctor.” My program was searching for any way to push me out through completely absurd claims regarding my performance. All of these complaints began when I started working a “humane” 60-hour work week. The constant shaming and harassment was unbearable. No longer willing or able to tolerate discrimination, I resigned at the beginning of my third year. 

Residency programs are not interested in training physicians to be humanists. They are interested in creating machines. I am not a machine. I am a human being who wants nothing more than to devote my life to this University as my doctors at this hospital are the reason I am alive. I want to be the kind of doctor that could tell a child in pain that I understand because I have felt this pain. Being a patient has made me a better doctor. I want to be a walking example of the amazing work of my pediatrician, neurosurgeons, and oncologists. My program has taken all of this from me. The irony of my story is palpable: I pursued pediatrics—to care for those who are vulnerable and suffering—and my program has not been able to care for their own doctors.

It is indescribably crushing that the same system that gave me my physical life back has now taken away my life’s purpose. My superiors have belittled me for the very deficits that inspired me to become a doctor—my compassion, love, and dedication to my patients. In trying with all that I have to give back to the institution that has saved my life and to devote myself to making the lives of children better, my dream has been destroyed, my time as a patient has been devalued, and my heart has been broken.


Erin S. Kalan, DO

Erin agreed to have her letter published. She joins the long list of doctors who are daily subjected to the same bullying and discrimination tactics by US hospitals that put profit over people and fail to comply with ADA laws. Recent cases include Stephanie Waggel who was fired by her hospital for having cancer and Svetlana Kleyman who was not allowed to complete her surgical training after a spinal infection.

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123 comments on “Hospital saves doctor’s life, then bullies her and threatens termination for disability
  1. Gary Levin says:

    Dr.Kalan is a doctor. There are many opportunities for her to ‘practice’ medicine. Academicians have no idea how real world medical practice works. It is a sad story, and thankfully she did not self destruct I hope. It has been a long battle of the hierarchy of medicine to lose it’s grip. In this era of Health 3.0 openesss and transparency will shine a bright light on some very dark places in medicine.

    • Julie Greene says:

      This story is pretty much the norm, not the exceptional dark spot. It’s all like that, the “exceptions” are those that are now finally talking about it. Even fewer patients dare speak out about the horrors of patient abuse, which runs rampant.

    • Cathy says:

      She may be a “Doctor” in academia, but having not completed residency, it will be very difficult for her to find a hands-on, patient-care job. The days were one could graduate medical school and practice under another licensed provider are dwindling. If she has not completed residency, she can’t become board certified, so few insurance companies will approve her credentialing application.

      So, yes, she will likely be able to find something in either teaching or research, but that is clearly not what she has worked for.

        • Ellen says:

          My heart goes out to this beautiful (inside and out) strong, compassionate woman. I am also on the outside looking in. My patients (I am/was an emergency doc) always asked when I could be their full-time doctor and how long was I staying at their hospital. They were used to doctors coming and going. I was bullied in so many ways by so many people. Finally, they started attacking the one thing they knew could really hurt me….my license. It sickened me when a bogus sanction (unrelated to patient care) got stuck on my profile. I chose not to renew my license in 2008 when, in fact, all I had to do was send in a check for $400 and sign the letter.

          Since then, I have learned the consequences of not keeping at least one state license active; other state medical boards treat you like there has to be something very wrong. WHO wouldn’t renew a license? I’m in doctor purgatory. I finished residency. I practiced for years as an emergency attending. What I never did was pass my specialty boards.

          Its not because I lack in intelligence; I am a pro at standardized exams. I happened to go through residency as a single mom. My children were (just) 7 & 9 when I began residency. My philosophy was always: “Anatomy, Medicine, all of that will still be there a few years from now. My kids will only get one chance to be 8, 9, 10…etc.” As result, I was treated like the “odd person out” by my residency program. I was brighter than any of my residency colleagues but I simply did not have the time to read the way you have to if you want to pass the boards when residency is over.

          I practiced good medicine when I got out. In the first years, superiors assumed I’d be taking and passing my emergency medicine boards. So did I. Time passed and it became more and more an elusive goal. I was working long hours, I was seen as vulnerable and continually running into idiots who used my lack of emergency board certification as a way to put me down. Nothing worse than being treated like you’re “stupid” when you’re not only not stupid; you’re several standard deviations above the IQ’s of your tormentors.

          The last place I worked was big on “throughput” and numbers. Production bonuses were tied to production bonuses of the group. Listening to patients is billable at the lowest level. I listen and I get their diagnosis right. Sure, I also do all the macho emergency medicine procedures, but so damn what? My listening time was bringing down production and I heard about it. Oh, you bet I heard about it. “This is going to be the worst month since I’ve been here”…..from another emergency doc, a yes-man to our boss whose patients I often treated when they came back because he misdiagnosed or wrongly treated what he diagnosed the first time. But that was ok for the hospital. “Bouncebacks” didn’t matter in the emergency department….just another patient visit.

          I applied for a license in the state where I now live and was told my application would be “supported” IF I went through an insanely expensive, notoriously bad (as in filled with land mines) evaluation program.

          Since then I’ve been paralyzed. Well, until recently. I’m waking up to the idea that I have the intrinsic gifts of compassion and quick rapport that I need to share with patients; a huge fund of knowledge (honored almost every med school course), a passion for people and puzzle solving. State boards are not going to separate me from patients and make me go into hiding. They should go into hiding – but that won’t happen.

          Anyway, Erin…..hang in. I am a survivor of many things. Email me at If I can get you my phone number privately I will. You’re better than this crazy system. You will prevail. Stay well. Just stay. It does get better. You’ll pull “better” right out of yourself. Don’t hate yourself. Don’t hate your life. You are IT; A real doctor, what patients need, the real deal. We – the caring, sensitive docs who are loved by our patients and derided by a sick bunch of people who don’t know how to BE people…We will prevail. With love, Ellen

          • Erin says:

            Ellen, thank you so much for your incredibly uplifting comment. It is so inspiring and encouraging to know that there are those that understand and recognize what medicine so desperately needs infusions of: authentic empathy, love and humility. Thank you so much and I will be emailing shortly.

          • M. BARRERA says:

            You are definitely not the a sea of doctors who could care less about illnesses that are most certainly killing me , they will do all but listen. Please stay, please get others to stay , hopefully coming across your path one day , may be the only thing that saves my life ! God bless you !

        • Ellen says:

          Pamela, I am developing a website. I also want to begin a brick-and-mortar patient consult business. It’s based on questions patients need answered, patients who don’t have doctors like you; patients who don’t understand their illnesses; patients who aren’t sure what kind of medical help to seek or IF they need to seek any; patients who need to go to an emergency room stat even though some (incompetent) doc told them to wait until morning; patients who don’t understand the studies they had; anxious patients and more. Do you know if that legal without a state license? I kind of don’t know how the Board could come down on me since I am not under their auspices, but the state of Oregon, I don’t know. I wouldn’t be doing exams or writing scrips. I would make it clear that I was not licensed in the state and have a brochure with my reasons. …Can this post not be published? Thank you! Sending love, love, and more love. Ellen

          • Kitty says:

            The only thing they might be able to hit you with is “practicing with out a license. Even Telemedicine you have to have a state license to give medical advice to pt’s in that state. The question is “what is practicing medicine.” “at what point are you merely explaining what a lab test means or telling them what the parameters of a disease or are you giving medical advise.” The problem is insurance companies run everything. If they don’t get a cut then they will turn you into the Medical Boards and the law. They want their cut and they don’t want to pay out. Doctors who are licensed who do “too many procedures where the insurance companies lose more on that patient in a pay out than what they will make in premiums and monthly payments will turn a doctor in to the Medical Board for “unnecessary procedures.” I am a doctor and I to am my patients advocate but I hate what has happened to medicine. It is corporate run medicine and the bottom line is to bilk the pt…which means all of us. I am an ER doc and within the last 2 years I keep hearing the same story from the pts “this is my 4 day in a row to come to the ER” Why would I keep hearing the same story? Because we ER doctors are told we have 2 hours sometimes 3, to make a disposition on every pt. If not we are fired for being to slow. Talkers don’t produce money. In fact they give pts advice on how to prevent them from returning to the ER. Big no-no. No money in that. So the doctors who are the most uncaring and care about their paycheck only, and thus the paycheck to the insurance company, they stay on, the talkers are out. The doctors who work up the pt’s are out…because that cost money. I used the think they could bill for it so it was better and the pt also go their diagnosis..but I was is about the insurance companies extracting money from the pt’s and not spending any money. These hospitals are intertwined with the insurance companies. Now the insurance companies are refusing to pay for ER visits “they deem not an emergency” They are not even there! They make this decision up in their office a month later. It is very sad, a pt repeatedly comes back to the ER for help and sent home to suffer another long agonizing night, they return over and over because the ER doc runs nothing more than a blood test and says “follow up with your primary care.” and then they get the ER bill of $3000.00 or more (for each visit) in the mail and the insurance company refuses to pay…deeming it a non-emergency because the pt got not treatment. It all comes down to those gold stars!..When pts complain about the long wait then the hospitals react and tell the doctors to get these pts in and out. They don’t hire more doctors they just shorten the time the pts are allowed to be in the ER. When a pt goes to the internet to look at which hospital has the most gold stars and of course they will not pick one with only one star..they will pick the one with 5 stars. So that means ones with the highest rating for the shortest wait times and the best food and how many times did the staff come in the room…you things that don’t matter. It is so bad now I worked in an ER that passed out a laminated menu and the nurses were now waitresses. I bet that stung, to spend all that money and studying to get that degree so they could ask “would you like cheese on that?” And the worst is, people are people. I have seen adults rolling with abdominal pain order food and eat it just to throw it up. And when I find they need surgery for their abdominal pain…then they can’t have it for 12 hrs because their last meal was when?? In the ER!
            I don’t know the answer all I know is the answer for me and that is I am quitting. I would rather open a plant store or be a UPS driver than practice medicine and put up with all the punishment we doctors go through. The public has no idea how much debt we a saddled with, that employment agencies are really in control of our jobs..or that primary verification (a requirement by insurance companies) takes 7 months to a year ie someone must check out our background for each and every job and we are really out of work more than we work. Erin you should thank your lucky stars that something has intervened in you going down this road. There is a higher calling for you. Being a doctor used to be a noble profession but we are not controlled and not allowed to be noble. You are a good person and a warrior…go use you talents in another direction. I assure you, if you stay the course towards being a doctor you are only creating more suffering for yourself and you are giving others control over you. To stay in this system is to give those who run medicine as a money generating corporation ie insurance companies, and all of those people who have willingly given up their autonomy and power over to this system in order to practice medicine for one thing only and that is to make a living, to survive because they have to pay back that ever increasing govt. debt “the medical school loan” is bring upon yourself more of what you have already experienced. What is the solution? For pts to stop buying insurance, for doctors to stop accepting it, for pts to vote to relieve physician of govt borrowed debt and for that gift see pts at a lower cost now that they don’t have to pay back those loans. How do we compete with technology which has made the primary care MD extinct because they can’t compete. Well maybe if the govt.. really cared about their citizens they would put money into they do infrastructure and the military..and we send the pts to go get the test done but there is not reason to see a CT scan cost $5000.00, they can do that scan for $100.00 and the pt could afford that. It is not the doctors who are costly, it is all the agencies and ALL the entities in between the Pt-doctor relationship. There are so many regulatory agencies which do nothing for pts care that create expense for the pt and expense for the doctor. Like the board exams or MOC (where the doctor pays for the test and then they are given you the answers) It just another requirement which cost money and does nothing. We don’t need a board to tell us if we have fallen beneath a standard…our own patients will stop coming to us..they are not stupid. In fact in stead of judging a hospital on the food they served or a doctor on how fast he kicked you out of the ER so the next pt can be shuffled in and kicked out how about be graded on “did the doctor personally tell you about your problem and go over the test results with you” and I don’t mean that piece of paper which every ER hands the pt which tells them about a disease…not their individual results or problem. We now live in a society where someone decided it is up to all of us to read up on every thing. We are not required to be helpful to one another. Ie. the voice menu on every phone call instead of a person who is helpful …now the medical field can say “well we gave the pt a print out on Asthma, and on all of their medications, they can also log in to our website and create a password to look at their lab…How heartless of them to make a sick pt sit at a computer and download some generic nonspecific blah blah to read…or to give them a stack of paper work with generalized advice…and then at the end it says to see your doctor if you have questions…you can’t…those doctors, the ones who were caught talking to patients were all fired a long time ago. They are all at home trying to find a job and hating themselves knowing what they have to do in order to keep that next job…they have to become part of the problem and treat those patients like cattle.
            I read the story about the ER doctor who tried to commit suicide after he sent a little girl home after with the flu. He did everything he was allowed to do and being a younger doc, everything he was taught to do. Years ago, he would have been allowed to admit that pediatric pt for observation or even let her stay in the ER for observation… he had no choice but to send her home. I had a pt who had no abdominal pain but a white count sky high…CT’s normal..he complained of back pain only. I sent him home and within 3hours his wife called and said he was sitting in a lawn chair talking gibberish..I told her to bring him back immediately and I called the surgeon and told him he needed to do a laparoscopy there was something seriously wrong with this pt his personality was hugely different than just 3 hours previously and his blood pressure was dropping he was definitely in shock… he argued and said I am not going in without a definite diagnosis. If it would have been for my insistent pleading this pt would have died. Today, the pt would have died and I would have lost my license. It ended up the pt had a ruptured appendix but his appendix had was buried in his psoas muscle so it was not visible on the CT, probably ruptured after he left the ER, and he had back pain due to irritation of his psoas mm. But a life saved because they used to let doctors practice medicine and there is a lot to be said for a doctor/person having a feeling about something not being right and acting on it. Now that is not allowed. Protocols and time limits are the rule and if there is a casualty then the doctor is expandable. They will claim the doctor should have admitted the pt. But lets say I admitted that pt for his high white count and he only had leukemia, that is not an admissible diagnosis, that can be worked up as an out patient…and I would have been fired for an unnecessary admit. So now, they wait for the casualty to happen and the doctor, not the system designed to collect the maximum amount of money, gets the blame. I know I am jumping from subject to subject here but I am in a hurry to get to work so trying to write as fast as possible and time to correct punctuation or spelling..sorry. Anyway, it all reminds me of the VA..they tell the soldiers if you agree to give your life we in tern will do this and this and included is we give you your own hospitals. Wow, their own hospitals…yep, they do have their own hospitals, the govt. kept their word, can’t say they don’t have their own hospitals…but they are full of doctors who don’t care because they get a paycheck whether they see the veterans or not. The pt waits 8 months to get an appts for a sore throat and when they get to the appt they are seen by a woman in burka who due to her religion is not allowed by herself in the same room as a man who is not her husband. For real, I saw it with my own eyes, doctors who don’t even go in the room with the pt, so therefore no exam and that is there care. Then the entire appt is taken up by asking the veteran “clinical reminder” questions like “did you feel you were harassed while in the service?” the Veteran has been out of the service for 25 years now…so why are you wasting his/her time asking that now? These questions are designed to take up the entire 20 min appt time. Then the doctor looks at his watch and says time is up and the veteran never got his 8 month long sore throat addressed. Yes, the govt can meet their obligation which was “we give you your own hospitals” but they don’t function to do anything for the veteran..and he dies of throat cancer and the govt is not out any money for medical care. How engenius. Well that is what our medical system for the public is like now. Waste the pts time and money and fire any doctors who spend any time doing anything for them, and if the pts dies, fire the doctor and take his license away because he will be so busy trying not to commit suicide or looking for another job and moving out of the house he can’t pay for and going through a divorce that he won’t have the energy to complain about the real problem and that is insurance companies and agencies and certification organizations who are in the business of making money and making regulations…not actually helping a pt. I don’t care if my doctor is board certified or not. I never met a pt who came in with a question and had a), b), c), or d) on their chest and if I get it wrong or right, then I get to move on the next patient. We all know people who are super logical and super intelligent but they are terrible test takers…but they are still great at what they do and the people they serve think so too. Erin, open up your own clinic and take cash only. that way you don’t have to take insurance. Money is not happiness so make your rate low enough your pts can pay it and they won’t feel compelled to go somewhere to use their insurance. Eventually they will get catastrophic insurance only and come see you for everything else. Be your own boss. You sound like you would be a great boss for you or anyone else to work for. I am going to do this for my self also just looking for a location. Make sure it is somewhere where you will stay for years. But I am not there yet so got to go…got to go work in the system which has caused all of this grief. Also there is a website you might like AAPS they believe in improving the doctor/pt relationship and taking others out.

  2. Karen Chase says:

    My biggest regret in life is not completing residency. I left after my intern year for many reasons. None of which was laziness. I was tired of crying, tired of hurting both physically and emotionally. I was really tired of being picked on for being fat. Never once did a physician suggest anything for me to get healthier of lose weight, except diet and exercise. How do any residents have time to exercise or eat right? I got dealt a shitty hand of genes that makes it really freaking hard to lose weight and I have a DISEASE called lipedema that NO ONE diagnosed until I figured it out on my own 17 years after residency. If any physician had done their F….ing job, I could have finished residency and not have all the health problems I have now. So basically the medical system failed me as a resident AND a patient. Finally, after taking Dr Wible’s class…I realize I’m a better doctor because I didn’t do residency. I never conformed. I am still me. Still wish I had the damned board certification though.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Karen we love you and will support you until your last breath. You have kindred spirit colleagues forever! An I have to say I am SO impressed with your willingness to take on every challenge and to prevail. Keep going!!

    • Catherine West says:

      Do you also have fibromyalgia? Your post is riddled with excuses and melodrama. You seem to easily cast blame on others for your failure. Sure, completing a residency is difficult. But lets not pretend that its some grueling and impossible marathon filled with torture. Residency was fun. I did find time for exercise, diet, and friends. How? Well I worked really hard, I didn’t complain, and I didn’t look for excuses to bail me out.

      Lets be honest. Some people are not cut out for medicine.

      • LBM says:

        Dr West,
        You just proved that bullies are alive and well. Shame on you and all of us who have forgotten how to empathize and sympathize. I expect you are just as condescending to your patients – and I am sure it makes you wildly popular.
        Just Sad!

      • Patricia J Ritchie says:

        Dr. West, I’m glad you were able to find balance in your residency. To mock both Dr. Chase and patients with fibromyalalgia, however, indicate you are part of the problem not the solution.

        The forty hour work week is standard. If physicians and the institutions that train them were to adhere to this standard, they would think complete thoughts and diseases such as lipedema, fibromyalgia and ME/CFS would be effectively treated generations earlier. This would be true efficiency.

      • Katherine says:

        West, you sound like an awful physician. Not bc you are “not cut out” for medicine, but bc you sound like a horrible person. I would never want to have a physician like you or send patients your way. Did someone “cut out” you heart?

      • Sean Snyder says:

        Dear West (I won’t precede it with “Dr.” because as far as i am concerned, you may have the title but you don’t deserve the respect that it commands),

        Lets be realistic here…you kinda suck…and i guarantee that most would take this young doctor, who never completed residency, over someone like you who is tenured and has decades worth of experience.

        You said it yourself, some people aren’t cut out for medicine…have you looked in a mirror lately?

      • barb Mccabe says:

        Catherine, I bet you are one of those doctors who people can’t stand. You know, the one’s with the attitude and think you are above everyone else. What a crumby thing to say to Karen.
        You don’t appear very compassionate. I wonder what kind of physician you are besides a jerk!!

      • Marygrace Coneff says:

        Wow, you are doing what the other people in her life did! What crap!
        I can tell that you never have had a chronic illness. It isn’t about pushing through! She was ill.
        If this is your attitude Ms. West, then I am thrilled you are not my doctor.
        I was misdiagnosed for 50 years! 50 years!
        I finally figured out it was Lyme Disease and co-infections.
        I was given all sorts of wrong conditions and given lots of antidepressants. Won’t help Lyme Disease!
        So glad you are not my doctor! Wish no one was because you have no empathy or compassion.
        I hope you never get a chronic illness. If you did though, you might then understand.

      • Reb says:

        Get put of medicine. Now discriminating fibromyalgia. No way that you have not harmed patients. Go pay theor rent and bills, do their house and yardwoek, pick up their kids from school.

        Your a destroy drive, narcissistic bully of severe pathology.Psych world needs to focus on you most dangerous in society, destroying lives.

        Your despicable and walking moral decay. Get out of medicine, Missy overentitled red flag danger DILBERT.

    • Zee says:

      Hi Karen,

      I am in a similar boat as you were. I had to leave residency in my second year due to mistreatment and personal reasons. I was wondering what you ended up doing after leaving residency? I am trying to return to residency but it is extremely hard…Thank you!

  3. Trisha Mitchell says:

    Horrible. Physicians are human willing to care for humans…dehumanize them and the patients suffer. The physicians suffer. Deplorable.

  4. stefan semchyshyn, MD says:

    I once met a woman who was graduate from Harvard and a resident in one of its teaching hospitals, when she expressed concerns about bullying to her program director, he told her that she must learn to kiss a…s in order to succeed. Shame on all those power abusers.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      And sometimes give sexual favors to men in power positions to keep their jobs. I have heard it all!!!

      • Gunther says:

        One of these days, it will be sexual favors to women in power positions for men to keep their jobs. It was a case many years ago, I believe it involved a male pizza worker refusing sexual advances from his female boss.

  5. Julie Petersen says:

    Erin was in my med school class. She is brilliant, kind, and driven beyond belief – everything we want our physicians to be. She worked with a true sense of vocation, and never once in med school did I see her complain, slack off, or ask for special treatment. It is truly heartbreaking to see that medicine may lose someone like her due to lack of administrative compassion or ration.

    • Erin says:

      Julie, thank you for your fierce compassion and support. The WVSOM family was and is incredible. I can honestly say that our medical school truly understands and teaches authentic empathy and humanism. I can only hope that residency programs like mine will begin to evolve.

  6. Barbara Aguilar says:

    This is heart wrenching and disgusting. Compassion is what Doctors need. Last time I checked, they need the same TLC we all need to thrive. Its time to walk softly (and with love and compassion), and carry a very big stick to beat the crap out of injustice! I, for one, stand behind you 100% never give up and never give in. Stand up to these bastards because they are without souls or moral compasses, and you are not alone!

    • Erin says:

      Barbara, thank you. I have and will continue to stand up for physicians with disabilities. I am so appreciative that you stand with me!

  7. john adams md says:

    Dear Dr. Kalin. You saved yourself from a poisoinous criminal gang with advanced degrees. You did good, you did right, you did it!! You are out of their clutches, free to live a healthy balanced life. Your heart will heal. Mine did, but it can take forever if we do not come foreward and sharehelp our confreres. I experienced similar acts. I could not tolerate the bad kills mutilation and therefore was called a “spook” by the head of pediatrics when i was a junior med student. Normative behavior for physicians is abusive. That is what is normal… to be abusive and to be dissociated and why ??? so you wont rock the wall street HMO boat of death. Who are these people that abused shamed and humiliated you?
    Who? You are a shining star and have acheived what used to be prized in our culture… knowledge-skills and an ethical-reason based-moral life. Had you continued to try to play their syphillitic game you would have ended up as a physician suicide. You accomplished a great great feat.

  8. Julie Greene says:

    This is very typical of the way that teaching hospitals act. They also treat their patients and lower-paid workers in a similar manner. Patients, nurses, medical students, doctors, families, staff, community members, and pretty much anyone who demands *humane* care gets bullied, threatened, told to shut up, told to stop pointing out injustices, denied medical care, silenced, and sometimes, literally killed. If any of us win in court, the judge puts a gag order on us to further silence us. Thank you to those brave enough to speak out on this very important issue. You are saving lives.

  9. R.S. says:

    I tutored you in anatomy. You are a much better person and brighter doctor than this program deserves. Time to find yourself a new training institution!

    • Erin says:

      R.S., thank you so much for your support both in medical school and now. As I said to Julie Petersen, our medical school, WVSOM, seems to understand how to teach and cultivate healthy physicians with emphasis on the wellness of the whole person both for patients and providers. I hope very much to help illicit this mentality in residency programs like mine. Programs that are so heavily pathological with emphasis on money, numbers, status and prestige that they seem to have forgotten why they themselves became doctors and what medicine truly is.

  10. Hope E Ransom says:

    I am a disabled veteran and have been treated by many doctors. I find it appalling these doctors who take an oath to ‘Do No Harm’ are the very ones bullying you. I would choose you as my physician over all of them. It is they who need to find another profession…hopefully nowhere near another human being.

  11. KASNYA BERRY says:

    Western Medicine is basically sick care, and they can’t even take care of their own? Wow! Maybe you should think of entering Alternative Med/Functional Med? Those of us who have had ourselves, our children and our families FAILED by Western Med support you 100%! I’m a Wellness Warrior myself no thanks to any MD.

  12. ashley says:

    Wow I was “let go” from a local hospital in Pennsylvania for having seizures.but they say it’s legal

  13. Thanks for sharing your story Erin. It is great to have experiences like these shared to bring awareness to the culture of medicine. Care is the foundation of health care. That being so, we need care to be the foundation of how we care for those who are in health care for without care for and in those in health care, we do not have true health care. Your story represents an absence of care for health care providers. It is a long held myth that you need to be ‘tough’ to do medicine. You need to be tough to go to war as a soldier, not to care for people. Indeed, I have heard it said, and read that being at war is far less stressful than doing medicine in many circumstances which is very revealing of our current absence of ‘care’ in health care.

    • Erin says:


      Thank you for your kindness and for beautifully put emphasis on ‘care.’ How can we as doctors care for our patients if we do not care for each other?
      I very much agree that residency is not the military. My fiancee is a member of the military and he has become quite puzzled with the element of machismo that seems to prevail or even be a pre-requisite to medicine. Being a healer does not require one to be prepared for war, but it should require that a person have a capacity to simply love and care for their patients, their colleagues and themselves. I see no element of ‘toughness’ in that. Again, thank you so much for your support.

  14. Christine bull says:

    I think this is discrimination allowances should be made and she should be supported by her colleagues they must need Drs

  15. This is exactly the kind of Doctor I would want working for me. I have been a pediatrician for 25 years. There is no place for arrogant jerks with no moral compass in our profession. Shame on them. Please stay the compassionate person you are. You will find a program that values that and will become an amazing Pediatrician and heal many children.

  16. Janet says:

    It’s a man world wonder if a dude would be treated the same?

  17. Visit the listed website and learn how Florida Hospital North Pinellas in Tarpon Springs, Florida used a sham Medical Peer Review to defraud Dr. Mahnee Dinsmore of her admitting privileges because she would admit women that were going to deliver Substance Exposed Neonates and also she would not pressure her patients into having unnecessary c-sections in order to generate more revenue for the hospital. Please pass this on.

  18. Gina Neumann says:

    I feel their frustration and plus more… I worked at a Magnet designated hospital for 17 years as a Reg. Nurse. I was sent to work with NO work restrictions after a doctor one of their own found that I had 4 rib fractures. Broke another rib taking care of a patient. Lost my job, lost everything because I couldn’t get back to work by the 6th month mark. Because no one stopped and ? why a 39 yo female has 5 rib fractures that are not healing and continue to break more with strict restrictions for a grand total of 13 rib fractions. They also denied workman’s compensation so I was kicked to the curb after 17 years of service. Never even received a phone call nothing except a letter stating my last day of work. Completely disheartening with the way I was treated after I gave them 17 years of dedicated care and respect to my patients.

  19. Eileen Franzen says:

    Compassionate affordable healthcare died when the bean counters took over our hospitals and doctors became their laborers.

  20. Kathi says:

    You lose all credibility with that glaring grammatical error in your headline.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Apostrophe? I added it. Hospital saves doctor’s life, then bullies her and threatens termination for disability. Are we set now?

    • B says:

      You lose all credibility by being a douche!

    • Pheonyx says:

      Isn’t a Person’s Medical Knowledge more important than their English score. I would think so. But you seem to think otherwise, which is a shame on you.

    • Q says:

      says a Kathi with an ‘i’ …lol

    • ruththella white says:

      The existence of minor spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors should not be used to compromise a writer’s credibility, especially in an informal setting. In fact, too many people use it as a tactic to engage in ad hominem (personal) attacks to discredit others. These attacks are used in order to win a debate or make the detractor appear more intelligent. In fact, such attacks are fallacies of distraction, add nothing of significance to the issue being discussed, and are more distracting than minor spelling,punctuation and grammatical errors.

  21. Phyllis Romero says:

    I discovered Dr. Wible’s page through a friend. I am not a doctor, but a chronic patient. I have been to doctors who are completely arrogant “human” beings and rarely I come across one with a moral compass. I can understand medical school trying to toughen up residents on one hand because if one falls apart with every patient they begin to care about, I can see how it would affect them, both personally and on the job. But on the other, a doctor needs to be a decent human being. Too many doctors I come across think they are God and really play off of being superior to their patients. This page though has opened my eyes to offer more forgiveness to doctors and realize what they go through on a day to day basis.
    It’s ashame that you have gone through this Erin, because I believe you would be an exemplary doctor. I don’t know what the certification qualifications are and such(I would imagine it varies from state to state?), but if I were you, I would not give up. i have learned that what something was 20 years ago often does not stay the same. I would either find another program or look into something else that you can utilize what credits you have. You are too bright a shining star not to gift the world with the beautiful human traits and the knowledge you have as a doctor and a person. Don’t give up. That would just allow them to win. I pray you find a place that is more accepting and kind to you.

    Phyllis Romero

  22. Andrea says:

    My heart is with you in your fight!

  23. Rodney Watson, MD says:

    I’m sorry for your experiences. I must be one of the lucky ones from reading these posts. My residency was quite enjoyable. The house officers worked together to create a sense of belonging. We helped each other at every turn. The faculty was the same. They were concerned with our health, safety, and our learning. Sure some were a little grumpy but we overlooked them because the vast majority were kind, caring, and helpful. They were our teachers, but our masters. Residency should be a great way to acquire knowledge from more experienced physicians and that is exactly what I had. Thank you Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, AR.

  24. Elizabeth Reynolds says:

    Dear Dr. West,

    I don’t read the original post as melodramatic at all. I am a professional TV Network Producer/Director therefore consider myself someone with knowledge in discerning drama vs factual story. Dr. Kalan does include her emotions and her physical symptoms, which is appropriate, as they are a major part of the story.

    The way you jump to the conclusion of a diagnosis without sufficient information (joint pain, yes? — without checking for the appropriate symptoms) plus your assumption that everyone has the same experience as you did during residency (did you have brain tumour too? — No?) shows me that you exemplify exactly the cruel and unprofessional qualities the medical field seems to accept far too often. And that needs to change.

    I think someone who would write a post like yours, showing that kind of disdain, inability to empathize and jumping to a ridiculous and pathologizing “diagnosis” without enough information should by law be prevented from practicing medicine

    I suspect that placing blame on others for one’s deficiencies (in compassion in your case) seems to be in the mind of the observer.

    Thank you,

    Elizabeth Reynolds

  25. M.C. says:

    Dr. Kalan, Thank you for sharing your story. This is the same hospital that treats EMS providers like they are f’ing morons. I have a Phd and bring patients into the ER all the time and am treated like the lowest form of medical provider. The cleaning staff is treated better. I don’t know if it is because I’m a female or because EMS are scum. I want to bring in my degree and tack it to my forehead in an effort to get someone to treat me like I know anything.
    You did the right thing leaving. You should sue their asses and call the press. Doctors like you made that hospital tolerable to transport to. Please go find another hospital to finish your residency at… maybe one in the capital??
    Good luck.

  26. Shirley Kling says:

    This is so sad, but believeable in a world that puts profits ahead of ethics or anything else.

  27. Pam says:

    This is infuriating.

  28. Tammy Morris says:

    Erin, you are the type of doctor that the world needs more of. When I need a doctor, I value compassion and kindness. No one wants a cold bedside manner from a robot type or cookie cutter doctor. I think you have more than ample reasons to pursue harassment charges! Someone needs to be a voice for those with a disability that decide against odds to accomplish lofty goals of making a difference in the world. I applaud your efforts while I apogize for the ignorance of others in your field. Prayers for your voice to be heard and justice served.

  29. Beth Harvey says:

    How absolutely heart breaking!! Please stay willing to fight for change…I marvel at the physcians I have had the honor and privilege to work with that have remained kind to me. I have also experienced working with arrogant arses that have endangered the lives of my patients because their bullying has caused me to delay requesting their help and knowledge in caring for our vulnerable population during a crisis!! We have a shortage of physcians in this country…wouldn’t common sense lead the way to nurturing those with such a deep passion in caring for the sick and injured in accomplishing this noble goal??? How can we harness this passion and energy to make changes in the medical field, for physcians and nurses???

  30. Herb Kingsland says:

    I dont have to say GOOD LUCK DOC.!

    U have some Great, & profit-ABLE lawsuits coming . . . .

  31. Janie McAndrew says:

    One Christmas Eve I went to the ER in very bad pain. The doctor said I had one thing I told him it was much lower in my tubes or that area. He said I was wrong I had a spastic colon and sent me home with some pills. Fours days later due to Christmas I went to see my OB GYN who told me I had a Cyst the size of an orange. My doctor went over to hospital which was next door and woke up the doctor. He told him what was wrong and wanted to know why he refused to give me an internal. Also he asked him if he asked me what I did for a living. The doctor said no. My doctor told him I was a dancer and with that cyst that big I could have burst and the poison would have killed me before I hit the floor. My doctor treated me for a month for free because I could not work. By the way when he talked to he doctor who treated me he did it in the middle of the ER in front of every one. The nurses told me later. It made my day.

  32. Darla says:

    So…some one wanted special treatment, not equality and got told no….yeah, suck it up

    • Erin says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Darla. I certainly did not want special treatment, only fair and just treatment without discrimination and retaliation for having a disability. I am sorry that you feel resentment towards this very serious problem. I hope that one day you may come to understand compassion.

  33. J says:

    I left being an RN in hospitals after 5 yrs. The pay was pretty good, I enjoyed helping people and being there for them during a scary time, but the nearly impossible volume of work expected of you let alone trying to take a few moments to be compassionate with patients (or eat or go to the bathroom) was nearly impossible to achieve. I would often still be there late in the morning finishing up charting, since the patients were my priority and then get in trouble for either still being on the clock, or having already clocked out. All that mattered to the bosses were numbers. I am in excellent physical health yet the stress level was so high I would drive home most mornings feeling like I had just recovered from or was about to have a heart attack. When I spoke up about seeing one of my patient’s family members (who was a higher up employee) trying to illegally gain access to his records, attitudes quickly changed towards me and it is part of why I left the health care field, but I’m glad I spoke up because I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing for my patient. I worked taking care of others some nights while battling through my own pain whether it was a horrible headache from the stress, or one time a kidney infection from a run away UTI that I couldn’t take off to get treated. Other nurses were bullied if they could no longer work through their own pain being told you’d better be dying if you’re going home. I often heard other nurses mocking ADA accommodations saying it was probably just people who “didn’t really want to work.” There is a LOT that needs to change about the health care environment/culture before I’d ever consider going back into it. Sadly, I dread the day I may have to be involved as a patient given everything I’ve seen.

  34. byskinner says:

    Disheartening…… happened to me also, different medical condition and happened after years of practice, but the ADA doesn’t seem to apply in our medical field toward physicians. If you are not in perfect physical condition ( with the exception of a few “accepted” disabilities) – then you are thought to have no worth as a physician. I wish you strength to continue to pursue your dream. I did not have enough strength to continue the fight so I had to give up on mine and I retired early after nearly 20 yrs as a Ob/Gyn. My illness left me with some neurologic deficits and I was no longer able to do surgery. There is bullying in medicine, while my illness was gradually evolving and was not yet diagnosed – my facility and fellow doctors were so cruel and couldn’t have been less supportive if they tried. I am so sorry this is happening to you. Consider looking for a training program that welcomes you – there may be one. I found that once a facility or group of people no longer welcomes you – it is so very hard to stay there, even if you are correct in your argument or position. Every day is pure torture. It is a very difficult situation to be in to think that your fellow colleagues do not value you or want you around…. do not take it personally ( hard not to), but the administrators usually toss around a word “liability” and there is no one to point out that a person who tries so hard to pursue their dream would probably be more conscientious and be less of a liability than the average neurologically intact and able bodied physicians who did not have to work as hard to reach similar achievement. I understand, and I am so sorry – keep fighting if you can. You have the right to pursue you dream to be a physician as long as you can academically hold your own. Make sure you have support people to talk to – this gets very difficult and if can be even more emotionally toxic than the illness you successfully overcame. Do not let others hurt you – life is too short – but surround yourself with those who love and care about you and pursue your dream – if not at that facility – then find another location. Peace… leave the haters behind. ( It took me 5 years to accept this – five years of heartache) Do not give up but move on…….their loss.

    • Jared says:

      In the area where I practice, three providers comitted suicide in less than 12 months. Last night, I was laying
      in bed thinking about what it feels like to be sick when you are a health care provider. This is what I wrote:
      Health care professionals skillfully advocate and manage the physical and mental well-being of our population. Our health care professionals need to be in the best health possible to deliver great care. However, I believe there is a double standard in the healthcare professions. Healthcare professionals often neglect their own physical and mental health because of the fear of stigmatization.
      No provider wants an “illness”, or even a perception of illness, to be attached to his/her medical credentials. Patients do not want to be treated by a provider for has an illness or medical condition. The expectation is that providers are immune to the very ailments they treat, as if we were invincible, or immortal. When Healthcare professionals experience health problems, I have found that they often attempt to hide their issues, putting on a facade while ignore our own health needs. They do not give them some time to recuperate. This is the Catch-22 of being a health care provider. Until we change public perceptions, as well as perceptions within our professional community, this problem will continue to plague us. Even if help is readily available. I strongly believe health care professionals are less likely to seek or utilize it. This is especially true for illnesses of mental health . If we want to be the best we can possibly be, we have to acknowledge that we are human beings. The public, as well as our colleagues, and ourselves, should value and treasure our own health in the same manner as we care for our patients. This means allowing providers to have illness, and to be allowed to recuperate when we need to do so. …without judgement, fear, or negative impact.

  35. Diane Gass says:

    I am not surprised to hear this about UVA. My husband died as the result of an accident as a patient at UVA… Mainly because of the arrogance of the Doctors there. I can remember telling them how arrogant they were before he fell and subsequently died.

  36. Cara Feys says:

    Dear Erin,
    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I worked with you in th ER before you started Med school and I’m so amazed that you’ve followed your dream and know how determined you are. I know that you are an excellent doctor and I hope you find a healthier avenue to practice the medicine that you’re so passionate about.

    • Erin says:

      Cara, thank you so much for your support. You are such a wonderful nurse. I always admired your candor and commitment to every single patient you cared for. I will find a way to make this system better for patients and providers and I hope so much that UVA will find a way alongside me.

  37. Mike says:


    I am shocked at how your residency program treated you. Telling you, you re “too king” what kind of comment is that? I would LOVE to have YOU as my physician than those whack jobs who think their sh*t doesn’t stink. You re not alone and more importantly, know that I as well as Dr. Wible and others will do ANYTHING for you, including being your support and pillar during this time. You ARE JUST as worthy of becoming a physician like your peers and if I have to keep voicing this is wrong to as many people as possible and share your story so be it. We are right behind you, we got your back!! DO NOT let these nasty people get to you! they have their own mental issues clearly!

    Best always,


    • Erin says:

      Mike, thank you so much for supporting me in this movement to make medicine better for patients and for providers. The system must be healed. I am so grateful for your kind words!

  38. Stacie kubick says:

    Awwww. Keep fighting. We spent a lot of time in nationwide children’s hospital in Ohio. My daughter went undiagnosed with severe gastroporesis and rheumenation which I finally diagnosed myself as Ehlers danlos syndrome with these additional symptoms. We need good doctors. My daughter is in college and was in pre Med. Her health couldn’t handle much at that point so she knew she would never make an intern in medicine. She switched to her second career choice as architect. She too walked away because there is no room in medicine for disabilities. Fight the fight. Children need your kind. ❤️

  39. Joellen Kelly says:

    I completely understand! And I sympathize with her; such a kind, enthusiastic and compassionate person who clearly would be the kind of doctor this world needs!

  40. Brian Lynch says:

    I am a physician and I’m sorry to hear about the new treatment .

    I fear it is all too common .

    Good luck.

  41. Betsy says:

    Sadly healthcare uses up people. Physicians. Nurses. All of allied health (like physical therapists). Everyone. Overworked. All the time.

    Residents are free labor because the federal government pays the hospitals to support residency training. So I feel for Erin. She sounds like she would be a great physician in a sane system. But the reality is that if your mind or body can’t tolerate 60-70-80 hours a week being a physician is probably not manageable. I see primary care doctors working those kinds of hours all the time. It should not be that way. It’s wrong. But it’s reality.

  42. robin powers says:

    this is too sad for words it makes me wonder if I should bother going on, I too want to work in the medical field to make a difference for those who can’t make one. I havn’t had brain operations but I have ehlers danlos syndrome and its a painful terrible inborn genetic connective tissue disease. i would NEVER make it under those conditions. its such a sad world. she did something so incredable and improbable and is being shamed. if i was her i would sue the hospital director with the ADA

  43. robin powers says:

    this is too sad for words it makes me wonder if I should bother going on, I too want to work in the medical field to make a difference for those who can’t make one. I haven’t had brain operations but I have ehlers danlos syndrome and its a painful terrible inborn genetic connective tissue disease. i would NEVER make it under those conditions. its such a sad world. she did something so incredable and improbable and is being shamed. if i was her i would sue the hospital director with the ADA

  44. Karen says:

    I experienced similar bullying all while going through a variety of health and family crises during my Pediatrics residency at a well-respected university program. Amazingly, I finished, but had symptoms bordering on PTSD for years afterward. I thought it would get better as an attending, but it has not. Unfortunately, physicians are unkind to each other and that is putting it mildly. Not to mention the current medical system that basically treats physicians as if they are robots taking care of machines.

  45. Darcy Baker says:

    I have seen and felt similar emotions, even without a formal disability. I do have a documented learning disability in reading comprehension, which slows my “productivity” causing me to have to do unpaid documentation, just to meet productivity expectations ($$$). However I am told I am not allowed to work if the clock, and that I could get in trouble for that. So what do I do?? The expectations are very often unable to be met unless people lie. I also, am not a robot. I feel like a commodity that is not appreciated and only told to do more. I have no doubt that what this woman had stated is true, and that it is very disheartening. Even without a disability, how can doctor and health practitioners of all kinds be expected to work ridiculous hours, without making mistakes, and not get worn out quickly. Also, ADA is real, and should and must be enforced for the very reasons it was made a law. Disgusted work the direction and current work expectations in the health care field. People’s lives are invoked, meaning pts and health care professionals.

  46. carol says:

    I have worked in a training hospital and have seen how some doctors have treated the residents. They have treated some residents like idiots and have called them much worse. The doctors have humiliated some of the residents in front of the patient’s as well as the nurses. I remember one time that this particular doctor who was rude to residents as well as nurses had a patient that coded. This one resident who was on call came to the code and saved the patient. As soon as the attending got to the unit he stood in the middle of the ICU and shouted that we were not to follow any orders that were given by the resident who had saved his patient. This totally humiliated this resident who we respected greatly and was a good and considerate resident and was going to make a great compassionate doctor The attending doctor had had cancer and was cured or in full remission. I told this resident that pay back would be great if that one day he stood over this particular doctor and called the shots to try and save his life.

  47. Olivia says:

    Can I learn what hospital/program this was so I know not to apply there? Thanks. I’d rather avoid learning from people who think that way.

  48. JR says:

    I usually don’t comment on things like this, however I know most of the parties here and I feel disappointed and disheartened that things seem to have progressed to this point. I know Erin to be a bright and kind physician who was eager to learn and pleasant to work with. However, I also know some of the physicians in charge of the residency program and know them to be caring and competent physicians and have heard and seen on multiple occasions their dedication to ethical care of their patients. It is extremely disappointing that a mutually agreeable solution has not been found.

    I do want to clarify that unlike many other jobs where accommodations under the ADA mostly affect the person with the disability, there are other responsibilities to other parties here as well. Residency needs to prepare doctors to take care of patients independently. And for the sake of patients, they must be able to meet minimum standards set forth by multiple accreditation bodies. This isn’t to say accomodations can’t be made, but in a situation like this it often means other residents doing extra time to help, which puts their work hours at risk of violation, which puts patients and ACGME accreditation at risk. It certainly can be done, especially with extending training time, etc. However it is not as simple as putting in an accessibility ramp as some of these posts seem to insinuate. As one of the other posters points out; for better or worse, medicine requires long hours even after training. As practitioners, our first obligation is always to our patients and the obligation of our training programs are to ensure we are ready to take on that responsibility independently. There would be plenty of outrage if a child was harmed by a physician that had not met the minimum standards for training.

    I am sorry this is happening to Erin. And I’m sorry for her peers, who I am sure are also quite upset by this whole situation. I hope that somehow an acceptable resolution is reached. If not at the current institution, I wish you success in the future as well.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      “There would be plenty of outrage if a child was harmed by a physician that had not met the minimum standards for training.”

      Residents must be properly cared for in a humane teaching environment so that patients can get the care they deserve. Sleep deprivation causes harm to all (patients and doctors) as noted here: and here in the effort to help maintain the (currently unenforced 80-hour work week which is INSANE btw):

      Erin (and her co-residents) should not be forced to work a schedule that puts themselves and their patients in harm’s way. What about the outrage a parent feels when their child’s human rights have been violated and they die by suicide in medical school? Where is the widespread outrage for the medical students and residents we continue to lose from suicide? (not to mention the long-term sequelae of PTSD and depression that they did not have prior to medical training) . . .

      Here is what an outraged parent looks like after losing her only child to suicide during medical training:

      • JR says:

        I’m not arguing that they system doesn’t need improvement or that it isnt stressful and physically, mentally, or emotionally taxing. It was only a single sentence in a larger point that medicine is different than many other jobs due to the stakes involved. There is a balance to be struck between timely training (studies show it takes about 10,000 hours to truly master a field – 10,000/150 wks = roughly 66 hrs per week) and overall well being of trainees. I’m not sure that most trainers would give up an extra 2 years to complete a categorical residency just to work 40 hrs a week.

        Anyway, my comment was only meant to point out that people will be upset either way, so finding a solution that best balances all interests is the ideal one.

        • Erin says:


          I also just wanted to add that my program’s evolution into malignancy involves losing a total of 5 residents in 3 year’s time, including myself. This program pathologically targets individuals and pushes them either into resignation or in some of the case into mental illness crisis. This has to end. Amazing people and physicians are being broken at this institution. I beg to differ with you regarding the morale and ethics of these individuals.

          Your program, in which I have many wonderful friends, is an exceptional model for how to treat residents with respect, dignity and humanity.

          Thank you again for your thoughts.

          • Anon. says:


            I am so sorry that you feel this is the right way for you to work through your disappointment at not finishing residency. I have worked with you personally and was there when some of the residents you mentioned left the program (and one of them never even started so I don’t think you can actually count her. If she never worked a shift in the program then she could never have been part of the “malignancy” that you talk about). I worked with you many times throughout your time in residency and I KNOW, for a fact, that accommodations were made due to your medical diagnosis even in your intern year (or did you conveniently forget the night shifts you didn’t work or that you were the only intern guaranteed to sleep on the few that you did while your seniors covered for you?). We did it not to discriminate or out of obligation…we saw you struggling and knew that it wasn’t because you were weak but extremely strong and determined and that is why we tried to help you at every turn that we, as residents, could. You weren’t the only resident struggling that year; there were 2 others if you’ll remember and we all bent over backwards – giving up vacations and electives – so that we could do the work that you couldn’t do or were restricted from doing due to various diagnoses that you and your co-residents were struggling with. When I first read this article I thought for sure you were talking about your Neuro training as that was the point that you dropped out. The peds team had your back – do not take it out on us…you are tainting not only your 2.5 years of training but ours as well…calling us malignant doctors by association. Did you think of us when you wrote that? If you had, I believe that you would have tried to deal with your concerns privately because the Erin I remember was a compassionate healer that tried to make the world a better place for ALL…not just for herself. We counted you as a friend and someone we loved, and now you have stabbed us in the back!

    • Erin says:


      Thank you so much for your kind words, insight and for taking the time to voice your thoughts here. I am sympathetic to your opinion here and do understand that patients are first; however, I believe that putting patients first entails maintaining the health and well being of the providers. This being said, if a program is unable to care for their providers they are by default unable to care for their patients with 100% safety, competency and needless to say compassion and morale.

      I would like to bring forth that the American Board of Pediatrics has a minimum weekly requirement of 50 hours and does not require night shifts (This can be referenced in their training requirements on their website). I think this is something that should be addressed, although I do realize that residents are cheap labor and working or exceeding the 80 hours a week provides more labor to the institution without costing more money.

      Nevertheless, I tried for 2 and a half years to find an agreeable, safe and fair plan with my program. I believe the rigidity of this institution coupled with some elements of expired tradition and a somewhat concerning pack mentality functioned to create a hostile work environment. Despite this, all I truly want is change: change that is best for our patients and our providers. It is time for this archaic method of training to evolve. I very much want to be a part of that whether it be at this University or at another.

      Thank you again for your insight and for your well wishes! Take good care.

      • Erin says:

        Dear Anonymous,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to weigh in here. I am very sorry to hear how distraught you are over this. Please know that the program did make some informal accommodations for approximately 4 months during my intern year, but then delivered a letter to me threatening termination if I was unable to work an unaccommodated schedule, despite strong recommendation from my oncologist, neurosurgeon and PCP. This along with many other hurtful and rather shocking conversations took place without your knowledge as I became very adept at remaining silent with regard to the hostile undercurrent as the threat of being fired loomed over me persistently. Most of my fellow residents were just wonderful in providing support and recognizing that my body could not always keep up with my brain. I am eternally grateful to you and to them. This letter is not about you. The only residents that I spoke of were those that were alienated and forced to resign before I was by our program. And, to ensure that we are speaking factually, my co-intern worked numerous shifts prior to her very traumatic exit. I did my very best to support her and the other residents that were treated unjustly. I do believe that our program has very clearly demonstrated a pattern of ousting those who do not fit their very rigid mold.

        Please understand that I have not labeled anyone as malignant doctor,nor I have I ever stated that the residents are malignant. Nevertheless, the program itself behaved and continues to behave in a malignant manner. Additionally, I simply disagree that my years of training have been tainted. My decision to speak publicly about this broken system has brought about incredible opportunity both in medicine and beyond. I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of love, support and those that have come forward with tragically similar stories. I will continue to devote myself to the health and well being of medical students, residents and physicians of all walks. In doing so it will only follow that patients will benefit.

        I will continue to work for change and very much hope that our program will do the same on behalf of our patients and our physicians. Thank you for all that you did to help me through residency. I am so grateful to you. I wish you all the best. Please take good care.

        • MS says:

          Dear anonymous:

          I know Erin and the co-residents that you speak of. You were clearly not one of the targeted in that program. Seeing the other side of that program’s leadership is very eye opening. Some of those people need mental help themselves. Out of respect for those co-resident’s privacy, I will not publish all the details. I will say that when the program director calls its residents selfish for being depressed and calls them weak and not at the level of a senior for having mental health issues, that is discrimination. When a chief resident is allowed to criticize the resident and write on the evaluation that she abandoned her intern for doctor’s appointments when in fact, those were mandatory appointments that were agreed upon for maintained sanity, that is a problem. Also, another senior was on call with that said intern that day! When attendings that once gave you glowing reviews suddenly change their tune when the program director turns on you (to the point where one attending that had not worked with that resident in over 6 months suddenly writes an evaluation based on heresay and not direct contact), that is a problem. When an attending says, “have you ever thought about waitressing? I always thought that would be a cool career?” and another says “I am not sure if you have anything going on upstairs”, how is that constructive? There are so many more detailed things that I could say but again, I want to respect the privacy of the people that have not come forward. That program is toxic from what I have seen. The leadership needs to change!

  49. Keri Fox says:


    You are a survivor and yet, so much more. You will find a way to help children who need your heart.

    Those of us who have suffered with a sick child, know that we need doctors who are allowed and encouraged to show their emotions. We need to know you are real.

    Don’t change who you are for those who are “in charge.”

    A place will open up for you- trust that there is a power far greater than we are at work.

  50. Kelly says:

    Sounds about right from that pediatrics residency program. Residency is hard no matter what, but for the most part, the other residency programs at that institution look out for their residents and fight for them. Im so sorry you had to experience that department’s toxic environment.

  51. Kathleen MD says:

    This system is broken and is breaking young physicians along with it. Erin, your story is awe inspiring. To survive having a brain tumor and to endure medical school is incredible in and of itself. Then, to have a residency program that fell blind to your gifts is gut-wrenching. You were an asset to what seems to be a very malignant program. UVA has and will continue to suffer a great loss with your absence.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Thank you so much for supporting Erin! If we all stand up for one another then these divide-and-conquer tactics will not leave us isolated and defeated. Time for our brothers and sisters in medicine to stand with one another for human rights, justice, and basic ethics. We are the foundation of health care. Let’s stay true to our noble profession and beloved mission to serve and to heal. XOX

  52. Carol Labelle says:

    I have been sick for over 15 years, and had virtually no help from our medical system. If they can’t define the problem, they blame it on the patient and say it’s all in your head. I have has REAL and life improving support by my Naturopathic Doctor who is so wonderful. She did tests that no MD even offered to do. She trained as an MD until an almost fatal reaction to a medication almost wiped out all kidney function. The doctors wanted to put her on dyalisis. Most people live an average of 10 years on dyalisis, and she was in her 20’s. She accessed a knowledgeable ND, who treated her until her kidneys were much improved. This lead her to analyse treatment options of a number of common ailments and she realized she didn’t agree with a number of the approaches currently utilized by doctors and hospitals. The experience caused her to change direction and become an ND instead. I am greatful I ended up in her clinic. I have been treated poorly by a number of mainstream doctors. When you are very unwell you need care, and not abuse. It unfortunately appears, in some cases, the atmosphere in medical school is seeping through to the public. I am not alone in my experience. Erin, you have a purpose and a gift to offer. I hope you do not give up, but find a way to achieve your hearts desire. I encourage you to look at holistic practice, that does so much good in addressing root causes, and not just offering a bandaid.

  53. Stephen Rodrigues, MD says:

    Thanks for your service Pamela.

    I have a message which hopefully will help you all see thru other’s eyes and experiences. This message is about pain and misery which is at the root of most all suicides.

    Treat pain and suffering with love and tenderness will cause the number to plummet!

    What I have discovered in my journey is that there’s no one in authority who is looking out after all of us.

    “All” means every American.

    I was begging and pleading with an administrator of the Medicare subcontractor trying to get a patient back to the office for lots of love and tenderness.

    It was the usual case of someone who was in pain, miserable, disable, relatively young, beautiful, talented, insightful, creative, inspiring and caring.

    I thought this administrator was softening up to “see” what is the reality in a solo family practice doctor’s office. We all want to do right.

    I simply gave her the whole truth about the fundamentals of science and biology and how Medicare policies and procedures were interfering with my ability to help my patients directly. I waited and waited and waited.

    After a month this administrator told me that there was nothing that she could do there were no exceptions we have to follow the rules. I could not offer, on her government insurance, this poor soul with the personalized touch and caring. No exceptions. No exceptions we had to follow the rules. There was no case-by-case compassion, personalization or customizing.

    She told me that Acupuncture based on the FDA, is experimental investigational and not recommended to Medicare beneficiaries.

    My beautiful young patient blew her brains out.

    The “I don’t care” is at the center of all >100 deaths per day from suicide.
    22 Veterans and Wounded Warriors kill themselves per day.

    This administrator contributed to the death of my patient.
    This administrator is also a contribution to the deaths of physicians too.
    Our medical elite and academic are contribution these deaths by doing nothing. Doing nothing when you must Do Right all of the time is by default is Doing Nothing!

    Doing nothing when there are problems to be solved is not a nice thing to do.

    This message is for my patient; I owe it to her. She sacrificed herself for this statement.

    Doing the right thing for a solo doctor is very easy. This little teeny-weeny sacrifice to honor the whole truth will hopefully save a life.

    All problems we see in the office setting which is not life-threatening, by default is caused by life and living.

    The pathology of all these problems is embedded in the 700 muscles of the body so-called microfractures, microscars, wounds or micro-traumas.

    The only cure for these wounds which we all get from life and living comes in the form of massage. Massage and all of the variations is the only anti-microscar pathology.

    The mechanism of action of massage is stimulation of the natural healing cascade of will repair.

    There only five healthy and natural ways to activate this healing cascade:
    1. Simple or complex therapeutic massage.
    2. a lot of pulling with leverage and spinal unwinding.
    3. thin intramuscular stimulation as per C. Chan Gunn,
    4. dry and wet needling with Janet Travell’s concepts,
    5. Wellness, proactions, prevention, education and lifestyle changes.

    Remember, LOTS of Tender Loving Caring and Touch is the only way to heal wounded bodies. The body cannot heal completely without Touch to power-on and power up natural healing.

    The mind cannot heal without the body being Touched.

    They both need LOTS of vitamin TLC+T!

    Within this construct:
    Pain; plain and simple there are no technology, rules, definitions, diagnoses, terms, traditions, or nothing to remember. There are few words to exchange, no definitions, and no translations needed.

    This therapy is ALL touch, feel, feelings, feedback, “feel-back,” stretching, fuel natural forces and out of the way to allow Mother Nature do her job.

    And that’s it.

    The hard part is throwing out almost everything you know or have learned from any book, article, seminar, CME because more than likely it won’t help you at the patient’s side.

    Acupuncture is not Acupuncture as in a singular construct as per the FDA’s statements.

    At the patient side, you have to be their willing servant. You have to obey and follow what they say and feel. This is the only way to personalize and tailor make a whole holistic therapeutic session.

    There is more to this story. In my view, this is the root of the problem. Uprooting these policy issues will lead to a resolution of many of these suicides.

  54. Benmichael Idowu says:

    I’m happy your dream of doctoring in those same halls was realized, but I’m much more angered by the discrimination you were dealt and the tactics they employed to get you to quit. Why you were denied ADA accommodations for so long I have no idea. Their faulting you for being too humane is so absurd it’s laughable. Your peds program may rethink their MO as HCAHPS reimbursement dollars continue to rise. I’m glad you made your story public. We can only hope this helps usher necessary change in that university’s archaic philosophy.

  55. Anne says:

    My heart goes out to you. I was forced to leave the UVA School of Nursing as a graduate student in the nurse practitioner program due to disability. I’ve never felt so targeted in my life. One of the few supporters I had within the University said that “Thomas Jefferson would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what was occurring at his University”. I have no doubt our third president would have the same reaction the way you were treated. Thank you for being brave enough to come forward and speak the truth! I know it wasn’t easy… pls ask Dr. Wible if you want my email address btw

  56. Amanda says:

    My husband is going through the same thing right now…he is being terminated from his residency program because they won’t accommodate his disability he has ADD and has a hard time writing soap notes on paper. Hes been bullied because of it harrased told he’s not fit to be a doctor.He was put on probation never got it in writing told it was only one month and keep him on it for 5 months.They keep saying for him to sign papers for the probation and never gave him anything.The environment was so hostile he became depressed and he never slept. Working so many hours being on call with no sleep is no good it effects the way you preform in every way. Is there any chance he could reverse the due process when standing in front of a commitee when he tells his story. Does he have any chance to save his career before they distroy everything please we need answers we have three kids away from family and have nothing. How do we go about this situation will the eeoc help if he makes his complaints or only harm him even more??? We need some advice on what to do should we call lawyers??? Can we save his career before they teeminate him??

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I highly recommend that you connect with others who have been through this same thing. I have showcased their stories on my blog and now also on Medscape. Look up Erin Kalan, Stephanie Waggell, and Svetlana Kleyman. Victims need to organize. Human rights violations in medicine are widespread. Learn from others who have gone before you on this path.

  57. Shirley says:

    Dear Dr. Kalan,

    Since your story was written just a short while ago, I sure hope that program did everything in its power to make their shameful treatment of you, right. As a parent, knowing the administrators enable such dehumanizing, unethical and illegal behavior, is warning to take my child somewhere else! Their failure to recognize the tremendous value of “you”, really deserves to be their competition’s gain.

    Your disability is an inspiration to every patient, that regardless of their difficulty, it can be overcome. Someday, they can even be a doctor just like you.

    Please, please do not give up and walk away from those who will benefit from your knowledge and need your inspiration. I would prefer you as my child’s provider over any that such an corrupt administration would support.

    I would consider disclosure of such an administration, equal to informed consent. The patient has the right to know.

    • Erin says:

      Dear Shirley,

      Thank you so much for your incredibly kind and inspiring words. I am so grateful.

      My program has done nothing to right their wrongs and has completely turned a blind eye to all of this with no acknowledgement of a system that is so terribly broken. I have been shunned by the entire residency program, which I expected as it becomes an “every man for himself” scenario. I feel so overwhelmingly sad for these human beings as they themselves are in such need of healing. This program is antiquated and riddled with fear-based training that simply misses the mark as to what the art of medicine truly is.

      I have retracted legal action as of now as I do not wish to inflict pain and suffering on those that inflicted it upon me. I believe that Karma will enact itself the way it is meant to. And, I do not want to identify as a victim of their actions as my life is meant for so much more. I want to focus on how best I can care for others and live my life in service while I am healthy and able to do so. I am continuing to practice medicine and will continue to practice fierce compassion for those that have hurt me so deeply.

      I am so thankful to you and to all who offer their understanding and support.

      • Pamela Wible MD says:

        Erin you a such a beautiful human being. And wise beyond your years. AND I still want to meet you in Oregon. Come to the next physician retreat 🙂

  58. H says:

    Has anything been done to prevent a recurrence of this harassment?

    What can be done?

    What should be done?

    Is there a web site to lead the way?

  59. Daniel Jacobson says:

    These are chilling vignettes, needing attention. If they are true – and I don’t doubt that they are – then I suggest that the identity of the offending institution (and even possibly individuals) be included. Shaming transgressors can be effective, and if details are scrupulously true, there should be no risk of being accused of libel.

  60. James Wright says:

    Don’t take everything at face value. I personally trained and worked with Erin. She was not the most pleasant to work with and definitely seemed to slack on her obligations. Her comments about staff telling her to “not be so nice” are absolutely insane. The program she trained in HIGHLY encouraged compassionate care and it was evident in their residents. This comment probably won’t even be posted, but the publisher should know the truth nonetheless. You got scammed.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      James Wright ~ Looks like you are not always right. Erin is a fabulous person and I now know that first hand (and from so many others who worked alongside her). I don’t believe in censorship by the way.

    • Erin says:

      Dear Mr. Wright,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I am so sorry but I don’t know a James Wright nor do I recall working with one. Please be assured that I always treated my colleagues with compassion and gratitude and continue to stay connected with so many from UVA as I practically grew up with them from starting off as a patient to working as a patient care assistant in multiple units over a decade ago. Many of my co-workers were and are like family to me as many took care of me many years ago. I love so many there and loved working alongside such incredible human beings.

      I have always tried to put forth my strongest, most heart felt and authentic effort in caring for others, patients, families and co-workers as just being alive and able to practice medicine was and is a daily privilege. I was unfortunately told that my being too nice was not becoming of a physician. I am so sorry you feel this way, but I do wish you the very best! Take good care!

  61. ruththella white says:

    my question: Why didn’t the civil rights/justice department intervene? Doctors and medical students have pursued legal sanctions in court for disability discrimination and won. When successful these cases help all persons with disabilities and forces medical facilities to properly train students and staff.Filing a complaint with State or Federal Civil rights Departments can can often require medical facilities and schools to enter into conciliation agreements without lawyers or lawsuits that require them to institute diversity training and agree to stop their unlawful actions.

  62. This story helps me realize that I am not the only one out there.

    In short, I am a former family medicine resident who completed over two years of training. By the half-way point in my training, I had suffered much bullying and workplace violence in the form of passive-aggression and verbal abuse. If affected my work and performance which showed and my residency did nothing to help me but simply remediate me several times, suggest that I had ADHD and coerce me into taking stimulants that I truly did not need. My only solace was an attending/mentor who was simply lukewarm to my matters. The stimulants I took made my pre-existing anxiety (from former workplace violence and abuse) just further worsen. I became erratic, more disorganized, and verbally aggressive as well. While on stimulants, I was mistreated by a chief resident- a former friend- and I lashed out unprofessionally. I was then put into probation and placed on an even heavier and less-compassionate microscope which after a month led me into experiencing a car accident. My program saw this as further signs of “being an unfit physician”, extended my probation, labeled me as having a “learning deficiency”, severed my training and left me in probation with no supervision or training for six more months until forcing me to resign. I showed during my probation much due diligence to improve myself seeking therapy, anger management, ace-ing an in-training exam, and even completing a quality improvement project. Still, in the end they said to me: “we just don’t know what to do with you at this point and recommend your dismissal”.

    I then had to make the difficult and unfortunate decision to resign, after enduring through almost 30 months of training.

    I am too at this point of exhaustion and severe grief of my past training experience. Reading Dr. Kalan’s story is inspiring and lets me know that I am not alone. Dr. Kalan, you are not alone. You are strong and I am sure an excellent physician who deserves to treat patients with your skills and amazing talent.

    We deserve better. We are human and are not perfect. Reading this story, motivates me to not give up. I refuse to do that. I am currently re-applying for residencies for next year’s 2018 Match, starting all over as a prospective intern for internal medicine programs. I am not sure how it will result, but I know I must keep trying.

    Dr. Pamela Wible, if you are reading this, I would like to share more about my story with you if you are interested. Thank you to anyone who had took time to read this.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I am interested. I’ll email you now. And share with Erin your kinds words.

    • Zee says:

      Hi Dr. Betts

      I was in a similar situation as you were..I suffered from passive aggression, bullying, verbal abuse in residency…i was singled out and targeted for behavioral problems and academic problems while I worked just as hard if not harder than most of my colleagues. I also was forced to remediate and went on probation as well. The stress affected my performance as well, the constant micromanaging and microscope on my back. The lack of compassion showed by the attendings at the program was devastating. I am pretty sure that one of the attendings disliked me for some reason and deliberately reported false things about me to the program director. I am a strong empath which also made me exhausted extremely easily. I ultimately had to resign. I am also trying to return to residency but the same specialty, hoping to start in PGY2 year. I wish you the best of luck and hope you match in 2018!

  63. Beth Sirr says:

    Sorry to read and know this is the norm.

    In his book, When Breath Becomes Air, the author describes his efforts to complete his residency while fighting cancer. He documents his decision to return to a full schedule noting institutional pressures which he does NOT blame.

    Ultimately, the cancer returns and he dies.

    The tragedy to me was that his physician and physician faculty did NOT step in to protect him from this decision, tho’ it seemed an obviously a bad idea that any mother would advise against.

    No surprise, Erin is trying to sensibly take care of herself and she is being punished for it.
    Medicine and nursing too are cruel professions especially if like sharks they sense “weakness” in the form of being kind or ill.
    Don’t let them kill you.


    oh my god, no wonder at 72 years, I have felt like there areno more ‘good doctors’ anymore. a couple decades ago I liked all my doctors in chicago. Now in south carolina I am afraid to go to the doctor and hate paying for a specialist and seeing only a PA, which I see as being the ‘hatchet man’ for the doctor.

    How I would have loved to have this doctor as mine and be treated with compassion instead of being dumped onto an ‘assistant’ because they can’t figure out what is wrong because they have never listened. No one seems to have any common sense anymore and yet i am paying for more than ‘common sense’.

    How could doctors be expected to function on such an inhumane work schedule, as if what they do isn’t so important that they be able to work at their best.

  65. Larry Pierson says:

    Dear Dr. Kalan,

    One year before you left, my daughter was also forced to resign from UVA during her final year of training, albeit in the internal medicine program. She was dismissed from the program 10 days after she filed a complaint against the program director. While the abusive PD has since resigned from the position, UVA has fought her efforts to re-build her career every step of the way. Final training year dismissals are always personal. For the University to allow 2 of them to happen 2 years in a row is highly indicative of a cancer within health system leadership. My daughter is still terrified of her former program director and is unlikely to speak out publicly at this point, but I think it would help both of you if you spoke to each other. Perhaps Dr. Wible might be able to facilitate an introduction.

  66. Bob says:

    What if we passed a federal law which restored to the citizen the right to: 1) contract with whoever they want to treat their health issues, 2) allowed them and their chosen provider to use whatever kind of treatment they wanted, anywhere in the United States, 3) gave the citizen the right to opt out of the current system, and 4) forbade any interference from any government entity in the chosen contractor? Basically, strip the system of its monopoly? And enable people to practice medicine how they want to, and the citizen to choose to hire whomever they want? No more FDA SWAT teams overwhelming Amish dairy farmers selling milk on their property. No more state boards of medicine and their croney politics. No more evil drug companies running things behind the curtain. Let the Satanic hospital system try to survive in this environment. It’ll go out of business.

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