3 doctors just died while training at one NY hospital

Three doctors just died at one NY hospital—from one internal medicine residency. Kind, caring, bright doctors. From abroad, they came to serve Americans on the frontlines, yet were never honored for their service, like Dr. Lorna Breen who died by suicide—hailed a hero by the media. No media celebrated them as heroes. No media reported their deaths. They worked 120-hr weeks for less than min. wage, ran ICUs, saved New Yorkers’ lives. Yet who helped them? Struggling, their only way out was suicide and an accidental drowning. Please—don’t let their lives be forgotten. 

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32 comments on “3 doctors just died while training at one NY hospital
  1. JH says:

    Please write an article of doctors abuse and suicide in Us and let’s send it to many news papers in other countries.

  2. Dr. B says:

    I guess you have never been in Lincoln Hospital well I have and I covered cases in that OR and by the middle of the case I wanted to off myself. The place is a first class hell hole in a first class hell hole neighborhood where you take your life in your hands stepping outside. These poor characters, one from China, Jordan and India didn’t know what the hell they were getting themselves into. They figured they were coming where the streets are paved in gold. I think they figured out they entered hell on earth.

    They probably thought they were headed to a place like one of the Mayos or Cleveland Clinic because all Hospitals here are the same. Instead they ended up in one of the worst shitholes in America. They should have stayed where they were. Even the WuHan Lab would have been better for the middle guy.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I’ve not been there though my cousin’s husband was born there. Tough neighborhood.

    • Bronx says:

      That’s not true and it’s victim blaming. The neighborhood is not that bad, you actually learn well and do real medicine and treat poor people that’s satisfying unless you live with hospital administrators who are obsessed money and psycho supervisors

  3. Bernie Seigel says:

    new york adds to the problem

    check suicide rates in montana and new york and see the difference


  4. Kernan Manion MD says:

    Would it help if we insisted on an independent psychological autopsy to help understand their desperation? Or perhaps should we insist on some form of independent review of every PGY program in the country, create a sort of “Glass Door” for PGY programs? Should we compel the ACGME to investigate, or perhaps the JC?
    One thing we do know is that MSs and PGYs are helpless pawns at the hands of organizational and corporate interests and can be discarded like cracked bricks and replaced with eager new docs hopeful for a training opportunity. And given that some are non-native, they fear the loss of their employment/training position and thus loss of visa and will be compelled to be more subservient.
    Perhaps you and I can have an open attendance webinar to explore the dimensions of this and invite MSs and PGYs – anonymously as needed – to share their thoughts?
    I’m happy to host that through CPR – Center for Physician Rights.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Thanks Kernan. Do you have IMG & FMGs in CPR?

      • Kernan Manion says:

        Yes, there are some. And I hear a variety of stories of abuse, predominantly in the area of MLBs and PHPs and sham performance appraisal reviews. We need to envision some form of independent review panel or monitoring system.

  5. Noushin says:

    Hi Pamela,

    I just have a question. Do they even investigate these deaths, or we just assume they are suicide? It’s just food for thought as no one talks about the details of these deaths. Thank you.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Yes, all homicides, suicides, accidental deaths are investigated by the police and are public record. There is no non-biased investigation into medical institution hot spots where clusters of suicides take place (and there should be).

  6. Tom says:

    Lincoln med center has always been a hell hole , I think.
    Horrific is the word in the years I was in NY.
    Also Bronx Lebanon
    I think those are accurate statements.
    So very sorry…

  7. Carol menashy says:

    This is unacceptable. We must support each other.
    Please remember to be kind to your colleagues and your self.

  8. Heather Hamood says:

    This is so sad. God Bless them and their families. The entire medical field needs to change its toxic and abusive mentality and the way that physicians and other medical staff are treated. Physicians are humans and have feelings just like everyone else does. The abuse in the medical field needs to stop and it is causing physicians to commit suicide, as well as burnouts, nervous breakdowns, PTSD, depression, anxiety, OCD and other mental illnesses. There needs to be laws passed in all 50 states to prevent bullying and abuse in all workplaces. How can someone perform their best at work, when they’re getting abused in the workplace? HR needs to do a way better job regulating this. It is disgusting and so sad that so many doctors are committing suicide. There shouldn’t be a stigma if they want to get help. Physicians should be protected under the ADA of 1990 just like everyone else. By law, they should be. People wonder why there is a shortage of doctors.

  9. Peggy Kankonde says:

    As wife and now widow of a former ECFMG physician from DR Congo, I would like to reach out to newly arrived interns and assist even if just with sharing with them basic understanding of US hospital machinery, investor and insurance demands and outside the medical field with practical aspects of daily life. Also lay out for them safety strategies available and be available as a friendly listener to them when they need to share about their shift’s pressure. My husband would often sit up in the midfle of the night, in a cold sweat, telling me about a case and asking me to take notes of what he wanted to verify about a patient during his next shift. Then he was able to relax and sleep through.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Wonderful to have FMGs reach out to support younger FMGs. Please also offer your assistance here where many more doctors will read about solutions to this crisis.

  10. Carolyn Sherman says:

    After reading your latest article on the NY IM residency suicides, I would say, “God bless you, Pamela Wible!,” but after my residency, I don’t believe in God any more.

  11. Chivalrous says:

    I’m fed up with feel good statements, what can we do to make real change on the ground?
    What did CIR do about it?
    We need something new on ACGME, CIR, AMA level and maybe raise money to hire lawyers and PR company to protect residents’ basic human rights.
    This is shameful how can doctors be so incapable of protecting themselves.

  12. Anony-mous says:

    Dear Dr. Wible,
    I was moved by your fantastic article ‘Why Three MDs From One Hospital Died by Suicide Within 8 Months: Can We Stop This?’ and although I cannot share my name (I have lived my entire career in fear of reprisal by my residency director and associates), I would like to share that my own experience at New York Presbyterian (Columbia+Cornell) in manhattan, the same program where Dr. Lorna Breen worked (I knew her well) was very much like Lincoln sounds. This is not a problem of one ‘bad apple’ program, or only programs which target FMGs, it is systemic and deeply rooted in the NYC programs including the “top” programs.
    During the first 3-4 years of existence of the New York Presbyterian Emergency Medicine Residency, the culture of abuse under Dr. Wallace Carter and Dr. Jeremy Sperling and others was so intense that six (yes, 6) residents quit in those initial years alone. One of those six died shortly thereafter under mysterious circumstances (cause unknown; he was in his 30s, healthy, and rumored to have died violently). He was a friend of mine.
    I don’t have to tell you what kind of vile behavior and tremendous pressure there would have to be for even one, let alone 6 young doctors to voluntarily quit an ivy league residency, after what we all did to earn those positions. We were disciplined at the whims of pretty much anyone; we were called in to work when we were not on call; we were yelled at and belittled regularly by doctors who had seemingly done nothing to deserve such status and power over us; we were touched physically by them (I’m not talking about sexual abuse, they just put their hands on you any time they wanted to demonstrate dominance); they refused to take a report when a patient’s family attacked one of us in the ambulance bay at CPMC in the dark of night; I could go on and on. These were not leaders in the field molding us into stronger soldiers- it seemed to me that they were just abusive tyrants with no accomplishments to speak of, trying to break us down to make themselves feel bigger. I managed to graduate from NYP and never looked back, but many NYC residents are not so lucky.
    New York Presbyterian was aware of the conditions. Complaints were made. And how did New York Presbyterian respond? Complaints were covered up and not documented. Residents were threatened. They promoted all of the men involved. Dr. Wallace Carter was promoted to full professor and made Vice Chair, Clinical & Faculty Affairs. Jeremy Sperling was made Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. Dr. Rahul Sharma was promoted to full professor and Chairman of the department. All three (and others) are still directly in charge of residents and medical students to this day.
    I share this to honor the courage and resilience of everyone who made it through the NYP EM program, the Lincoln IM program, or any of the other NYC residency programs. There are hundreds of us. We were there, we all saw what happened, but most of all I share this because we all know deep down that it is still happening.

  13. estrella evangelista says:

    Hi I am not a physician. I am a nurse. The healthcare system is so flawed that it is allowing, or better yet enabling healthcare organizations to receive COVID stimulus money that is supposed to provide adequate resources for hospital staff and incentive pay for those of us who worked and continue work with or without COVID. The trauma that we as healthcare providers went through isolated us all from each other. In Nevada I know of 3 nurse colleagues who committed suicide in the last 6 months. We are all suffering and are teetering with our own personal issues. When there tremendous pressure to perform with less and less resources, adds on to what we already bear then it is easy to fell trapped, stuck, hopeless and helpless.I think it is high time for all of US in healthcare, nurses, physicians, to unite and rally as one and demand for better working conditions. Let us change unite and work toward changing health care policies that benefit large HMOs and insurance companies. Unless we take a step back and realize that the current care delivery system is failing us, suicide, mental health issues, bullying, wont stop. We are fighting the wrong enemies. We chose this profession because we want to help people. But when the system is not allowing to care for ourselves and each other then we have to disrupt the system so we can do what we were meant to do…when the business trajectory is all about money, then leadership lose sight of the very people that toil daily and view us all in healthcare as dispensable. “There are more of those MD’s and nurses from where they came from mentality” is creating a culture of silence, where retaliation is always in the back of people’s minds. But goodness, there are hundreds and thousands of us working in healthcare, we are capable of being change leaders! It is high time that we work together and rally for a bigger cause that would benefit not just us but also the general public.

    • Uni says:

      Nurses and MDs are on the same boat. And Covid money went as bonus to non clinical people working from home!

  14. Lakhinder Bhatia M. D. says:

    Dear Dr Wible:
    I trained at Lincoln Hospital. The Program Director Dr. Harvey Eisenberg and Dr. Petreson were great. But some attendings were constantly intimidating the residents. Residents were under stress and at least one resident a year was being picked on. Some were getting fired thus damaging their career for ever both in the US and in their country. One of the terror was Dr. Anita Soni who is presently the CMO in New York Health Care System. She herself had strained relationship with her former husband and was always tense.
    The Program in Internal Medicine was concentrated by foreign medical graduates just like it is now. Since some attendings treated residents with disdain, the medical staff office treated residents like cattle. If we make phone calls, even now, requesting documents of our training, they still treat us as cattle. some of the remnants of old regime are still there after 30 years.
    I am a board certified gastroenterolgist having trained in Great Britain in GI before coming to the US. I never felt violated in the UK as I felt in the US which is like serving in Marines without being in the military. I had many hurdles to fight including J1 visa, family life, working more than 85 hours a week. We were residents, phlebotomists, porters, arranging beds, findings beds and delivering path specimens etc. Those days – 1989-1991 were the days of AIDS, HIV, Hepatitis and gunshot wounds. Lincoln was the God damn place. Residents were not in position to complain.
    Another thing about the Lincoln Hospital is dominance of medical residents from the Middle East. It has something to do with the Program Director with clear bias and also the quality of residents being offered the jobs which is VERY CHALLENGING. During our time (1986-1999) residents came from different background and highly trained having spent post graduates years in UK, India and elsewhere. They would guide the less experienced residents with their past experience. Even several attendings would rely on their medical judgements. Current Program Director needs to change the hiring of policy. Or simply change the GME Staff.

    Three hard working souls dead is dead too many.

    Lakhinder Bhatia, MD, FRCP
    Clinical Asst. Prof of Medicine
    Univ of Central Florida, Lake Nona, Fl
    Attending, Gastroenterolgist
    Osceola Regional Medical Ctr

  15. Abdullah says:

    Why is your article removed from Medscape. Is there any censoring going on?

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Medscape made unilateral non-factual edits to my article and as a result of these changes (& backlash they received) they removed the article.

  16. Marty says:

    I am in a similar situation. Can anyone help me please?

  17. ResidentX says:

    Do you know which lawyer, if any, sued Lincoln hospital ?
    I have a friend who is mentally abused by another NYC residency head, and want to be prepared in every way possible.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I’m not sure which you are referring to. I have spoken to an attorney who specializes in immigration law who was familiar with the working conditions at Lincoln though has not sued. If you are the resident that wrote me this evening, I tried to call you but the ph# you have me was not working. Try again.

  18. Lynn Carmichael says:

    God, this is sad,

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