Dr. Michelle Fernandez—Emergency Physician to the World (Obituary)

Michelle Fernandez MD MPH Obituary

A passionate leader in emergency medicine, Michelle C. Fernandez, M.D.. M.P.H., traveled the world sharing her talents with those fortunate enough to witness her excellence. She died December 25, 2023, at age 49.

Asked why she became a physician, she replied, “When I figured out what I was capable of and what the world needs, there was no other choice.”

Dr. Fernandez was a wizard at “O.P.P.” (“Other Peoples’ Problems,” she quipped) and thrived as an adrenaline junkie, often working more than 30 days in a row. Thousands are alive today due to her medical prowess (defined as “bravery in battle”). Yet her prowess extended beyond crime-ridden US inner cities to Iraqi war zones and into Amazonian jungles.

After surviving her own childhood trauma, Dr. Fernandez devoted her life to serving the most traumatized. A graduate of Auburn University (1998), she received her Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (2002) and her Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University (2007). She completed emergency medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian in Queens (2010), where more than 130 languages are spoken in the emergency department by patients in the most ethnically diverse county in the US.

She found “her people” in New Orleans dive bars, Oklahoma Native American reservations, and at Iraqi gas stations, where she’d be hanging out conversing in Arabic with the owner and patrons. As a doctor, her greatest joy was to be fully present and deeply compassionate amid life-and-death emergencies.

Michelle Fernandez MD, Emergency Physician

Michelle worked hard, but played harder. From night snorkeling in the Caribbean to racing her sports car down narrow New Orleans streets, spending time with Michelle was like riding a rollercoaster. You felt excited, a little nervous, and a bit scared. Yet when it was over you’d have survived one of the most exciting experiences of your life.

A fierce protector, unbreakable confidante, and force of nature, she was dubbed “Hurricane Fernandez,” by friends who labeled her a category 5 (and 5-star physician).

An unforgettable bundle of energy and memorable character in the minds of all, Hurricane Fernandez lived life in the eye of the storm, yet also shared love effortlessly. Gift-giving was her specialty and she delighted in presenting handmade cards and jewelry uniquely chosen for each person.

Dr. Fernandez had well-treated depression and ADHD, high functioning on her medications for twenty years—until her doctor retired. Despite help from physician friends with finding another doctor, Dr. Fernandez was unable to secure a new physician willing to continue her medications. As a result, she slipped into a state of depressive hopelessness and chose to end her life on Christmas Day 2023.

Preceded in death by her beloved rescue cat, Travis, she is survived by rescues, Egypt and Cheetah. Donations in her honor may be made to the cat rescue of your choice or physician suicide prevention programs at IdealMedicalCare.org.

Dr. Michelle Fernandez - Travis Rescue Cat

Dr. Michelle Fernandez & her rescue cat, Travis

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243 comments on “Dr. Michelle Fernandez—Emergency Physician to the World (Obituary)
  1. Lisa Pozner says:

    Beyond heartbreaking Pamela ! Such a loss of a precious soul! I cried reading this.

    Not finding the help she needed and not given the medication she needed?
    Beyond deplorable!!!!

    No obituary until you all wrote one ? Beyond Heartbreaking!

    May her precious memory be a blessing.

    Thank God you were friends. May God comfort you and her loving friends. I love you Pamela.

    Love Lisa

    • holly n says:

      Maybe they wouldnt prescribe xanax. or klonopin….it happens

      • Karen McKinnon says:

        How dare you comment on this woman’s story? Until you walk in her shoes which I doubt you could fill on your best day, why don’t you close your mouth. People in healthcare dedicate their lives to others and then to not get help with their own personal trauma and from the trauma they have seen, is shameful and happening more than you think. Educate yourself.

  2. Lauren Kosinsk says:

    Pamela, this is a lovely, important, much appreciated tribute to a doctor I never met but care about. Thank you.

    • Daphne Chakurian says:

      What important contributions she made to the world! Thanks for sharing about your friend. Depression is a deadly disease and we need to end the stigma around treatment in healthcare professions, especially medicine.

  3. Helene Ruiz says:

    What a beautifully written tribute obituary. May she rest in peace. I send my condolences so very sorry to hear of this. She sounded like an amazing amazing amazing woman. So very sad. Tonight I will Light another candle.

  4. Dell Anderson says:

    Tragic! Thanks for sharing though.
    Is it my imagination or can others see the sadness in people’s eyes even when their mouth is trying to smile?

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I can see her sadness.

      Look on social media and see lots of “happy” sad people everywhere. Epidemic.

      • David Levine says:

        “Happy” sad people?
        America is a society based on acquisition and entertainment: shallow pursuits. Doctors function under constant threat of disciplinary or legal attack. So-called colleagues are often the most judgmental and unsympathetic.
        It is a poor excuse for a health care system.

        • Karen Miday says:

          Very sad indeed. So grateful that this was written. And, yes, it is true that we forget about all the amazing contributions that these deceased docs have made. And yes, the anti-benzo madness that many docs, even psychiatrists, now seem to have is beyond insane. May Dr. F “Rest in Power.”

        • Louise B Andrew says:

          To paraphrase Walter Cronkite, it is neither healthy, caring, nor even a system.
          And where doctors are the patients it is sadly often, something far worse.

          • Mimi says:

            Cronkite, the best journalist… Terribly sad that even amongst her MD friends and colleagues no one could provide her med prescriptions… That actually seems tragically odd. Condolences to all who knew and loved this woman. Beautiful eulogy.

          • Traci says:

            Yew mimi I was thinking the same thing..

        • Bob Schubrinh says:

          The starting point, Dr Leah Houston points out, is that healthy people stay healthy without care. It’s when we become ill or disabled that we need _medical care_.

          The late Dr Fernandez appeared healthy as a horse, because she depended on medical care to remain fully functional.

          Starving someone of necessary medicine is as evil as Mohammed Farah Aidid’s engineered Somali famine.

          We need to begin taking the Americans With Disabilities Act seriously. If a person is dependent on medical care to remain functional, they have the legal right, under the Act, to receive that care.

          Most of us are not crass enough to demand that a veteran missing an arm, do two-handed pushups. It’s too obviously an impossible demand.

          But demanding that Dr Fernandez die because no one was willing to prescribe the drugs on which she depended, to survive, is an impossible demand.

          Making the demand anonymously from a committee, simply makes the entire committee complicit in at the very least a negligent homicide, and conceivably a premeditated murder

  5. Susie Hancock says:

    She was what the world needed. What a beautiful tribute.
    Heartbreaking that she dedicated her life to helping others and yet couldn’t find medical care to heal her. The world will miss her and may she rest in peace.

  6. JH says:

    Sad to read
    So she wasn’t able to find a psych doc who would give her meds that worked for her ??? And as doc she was not able write her own meds due to over regulated profession
    The whole system is f’ed up..

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Yes. She was on 4 meds and one was a benzodiazepine and the over-regulation and fear of med board investigation for overprescribing legitimate meds that people need is outrageous. If she were to write her own meds she would have been turned into the board by the pharmacist (very likely) for self-prescribing which is a violation of the medical practice act.

      • Elizabeth Cornell says:

        Until I read your comment explaining that one of her medications was a benzo, I was completely flummoxed as to why she could not find a doctor who would replace them. That situation is not unlike the suffering that patients who are in intractable pain are forced to endure for the same reason many of whom ultimately end up killing themselves. My sincere condolences and may she rest in peace.

        • Pamela Wible MD says:

          100%! Id doctors can’t even get their meds just imagine the crisis that ALL patients who legitimately need benzos & pain meds are facing!

          • Dale Wisely says:

            Doctors should acknowledge our failure to figure out how to take care of patients with chronic pain and with some chronic psychiatric problems. Once that’s done, perhaps we could stop punishing patients for our failure to find effective treatment.

        • Nancy says:

          That is so very true, trying to get patients pain control is SO HARD!

        • Maureen Roland says:

          Well said, sister.

      • David MH Lambert, DDS says:

        It’s not so inconceivable that a given approach taken by one doc might not be one others would easily adopt. What’s hard to understand is how in one instance the medical regulatory complex might prompt docs reticence to adopt a line of treatment that could include controlled substances, but – at least in my state – public assistance (ie Medicaid) will only reimburse for opiates when other non-narcotic options would clearly be safer.

        It’s an upside-down world we live in.

    • holly n says:

      ridiculous. but they see us all as addicts.
      And her family didnt even do an obit? ugh

  7. Leslie McCaddon says:

    Heartbreaking. Our world needs more people like her, not less. And we haven’t figured out how to support doctors (and others) as much as they need and deserve. When will we learn? What can we do to make it safe for doctors to seek treatment without hurting their careers??

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Leslie here’s how we can help docs by ending the weaponization of psychiatry — Depressed Doctor: How To Get Confidential Mental Health Help for Physicians

      13 tips for depressed doctors who need confidential mental health care

      1. Avoid care through your educational institution.

      HIPAA’s privacy rule does not apply to “education records” or “treatment records” at educational institutions under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). I know trainees sent to school psychiatrists who breach their “perceived” confidentiality by sharing medical charts with deans and program directors. FERPA health records are HIPAA-exempt and courts have ruled students have no private right of action for a FERPA violation.

      2. Beware of mandatory Physician Health Program (PHP) referrals.

      Forced mental health care by an employer or medical board is never the best way to get confidential psychological support. Many medical institutions fund PHPs—a financial conflict of interest—plus PHPs charge medical professionals high fees not covered by health insurance. Doctors fear PHPs and some are left destitute after seeking help.

      Read all 13 tips here.

      • Cat says:

        That’s insane! Are outside agencies able to access information given to an educational institution? What a scary world we live in where “big brother” is always watching and you have to live entirely suspicious of everyone and everything, every scrap of help given. What’s worse is that it seems predatory on the vulnerable because when you are depressed and suicidal you’re not thinking straight and you’re clinging to any amount of help like a liferaft… only to discover that the liferaft is a scam and now you’ll never get free from “needing help”. It’s hard to maintain hope when this is the world we live in.

      • Cat says:

        Also, for some reason, it won’t let me read all 13 tips. There’s no link. Is there another way to access it?

        • Pamela Wible MD says:

          For all 13 tips (and some great comments by psychiatrists) click here. In case not accessible, read below:

          13 tips for depressed doctors who need confidential mental health care

          1. Avoid care through your educational institution.

          HIPAA’s privacy rule does not apply to “education records” or “treatment records” at educational institutions under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). I know trainees sent to school psychiatrists who breach their “perceived” confidentiality by sharing medical charts with deans and program directors. FERPA health records are HIPAA-exempt and courts have ruled students have no private right of action for a FERPA violation.

          2. Beware of mandatory Physician Health Program (PHP) referrals.

          Forced mental health care by an employer or medical board is never the best way to get confidential psychological support. Many medical institutions fund PHPs—a financial conflict of interest—plus PHPs charge medical professionals high fees not covered by health insurance. Doctors fear PHPs and some are left destitute after seeking help.

          3. Bypass Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

          If you suffer work-related mental health problems, seeking help from an employer-funded counselor presents a conflict of interest and risks a confidentiality breach. A surgical resident shares:

          “I struggled with lack of sleep in a program which eventually was put on probation for duty-hour violations, though we were bullied into lying about our hours. Any violations were our fault, not the program’s. I was picked on by a more advanced resident, and the PD sent me to EAP because he thought I was the source of the problems. They sent me to a psychologist who diagnosed me with ADD. He sent me to a psychiatrist, who added bupropion and methylphenidate to my escitalopram. I ended up not having my contract renewed in the end.”

          4. Confirm that your sessions are confidential.

          Ask if your records and communications will be 100% confidential. Inquire about exceptions to your confidentiality. Health professionals may be mandatory reporters, legally bound by state laws to report abuse. HIPAA allows health professionals to breach your confidentiality if you are a threat to yourself or others.

          5. Confirm that your private medical records are stored securely.

          Physicians’ personal medical records have been accessed to discredit them and discriminate against them for disability insurance, licensing, hospital privileges, and medical liability cases (even during divorce and custody battles). Publicizing private medical records online is a form of extreme shaming and bullying. To protect physicians, some health professionals use biometric fingerprint safes to store handwritten paper charts with fake names. Psychiatrists may hospitalize docs under fake names and place VIPs (like high-profile athletes) in fake charts, never stored with other charts or in EMRs. An emergency doc reveals:

          “I was sued. Overwhelmed with grief and fear, I took antidepressants and saw a psychiatrist. I paid cash and considered using a false name. I had already seen the Board send a physician to 6 weeks of inpatient alcohol treatment due to a complaint without any proof he was drinking. That saved his license but he owed an astronomical bill.”

          6. Avoid having your mental health documented in an EMR.

          From hackers and government agencies to prying eyes of peers, you are forever at risk of a confidentiality breach with electronic records. One physician wrote:

          “Psychiatry has been weaponized against physicians . . . with libelous entries placed into the EHR by psychiatry sucking up to admin after a physician reported misconduct [and patient safety issues] at that hospital, the EHR becomes a battleground for a false narrative against YOU. If you complain to the board or any other agency, first thing they do is read your personal EHR, which is now ruined, falsely stating psychiatric diagnoses or substance abuse you don’t have! Reputational harm can be severe, and could cost you lots to defend yourself before a board, including hiring forensic psychiatrists to testify that you’re not nuts.”

          7. Don’t use your insurance.

          To keep the medical-regulatory complex out of your private matters, it’s best to avoid having psychiatric billing codes attached to you. A mental illness may be used against you by the board, in a malpractice case—even be grounds for denial of disability and life insurance policies. One psychiatrist reports:

          “I deal with these issues all too often. Appalling that a patient should be afraid to utilize their expensive personal insurance to pay for mental health or be unable to ‘fully divulge’ the extent of their suffering to allow me to best help.”

          8. Go out of town or go virtual.

          Doctors in small towns don’t want to sit in a psychiatrist’s waiting room next to their own patients. High-profile physicians don’t want to be locked up on inpatient psych at their own hospital. To get confidential care, many choose telehealth services or travel out of town. A physician friend shares:

          “After reading an article about one woman’s journey through hell after being honest on those [medical board] application questions, I sought care an hour away. I drove an hour in another direction to nervously fill prescriptions for antidepressants. I required several meds to stop thinking of suicide all day every day. My suicidal thoughts were 100% work-related.”

          9. Consider pharmaceutical confidentiality.

          To avoid picking up psych meds at the local pharmacy, doctors may fill scripts out of town. Medical boards and government agencies can access state pharmacy records so some doctors use Canadian mail-order pharmacies to avoid US mental-health persecution. Here’s one workaround a physician shares:

          “I used samples of Paxil and had my spouse write me prescriptions for Lexapro, Buspar, Paxil, and sleeping pills over the years. I did not trust other doctors. I did not want any of this stuff in my records as I did not want to be seen as ‘crazy’ (this is how many doctors refer to psychiatric patients).”

          10. Be familiar with your state board rules, statutes, and applications.

          Most board applications ask mental health questions and threaten license revocation for lying. A physician shares:

          “Applications also ask about gaps in education, training, or employment. Essentially they are fishing for more information. Responses like ‘leave of absence to get treatment for a chronic medical condition’ will be met with requests for medical records or other information. So even if you get past these first questions, applications are designed so you’ll have to disclose one way or another.”

          Then, in tiny-font print before the signature line you will likely be waiving your HIPAA rights:

          “The submission of an application to the Board shall constitute and operate as an authorization by the applicant to each physician or health care practitioner whom the applicant has consulted or seen for diagnosis or treatment—as a waiver by the applicant of any privilege or right of confidentiality.”

          Physicians are terrified they may lose their livelihood—even if their job is killing them. One doctor reports:

          “I’ve been in practice 20 years and have been on antidepressants and anxiolytics for all of that time. I drive 300 miles to seek care and always pay cash. I am forced to lie on my state relicensing every year. There is no way in hell I would ever disclose this to the medical board—they are not our friends.”

          What happens when you declare your mental illness to the medical board?

          Two doctors share their experiences:

          “I was definitely subjected to discrimination, and it comes up EVERY TIME I apply for a new job, license, or malpractice. All I had was run-of-the-mill outpatient managed depression, and I probably should have chosen to just lie about it like 95% of applicants must, but I didn’t, and almost twenty years later it’s still hanging over my head.”

          “By checking the ‘YES’ box: ‘Have/are you treated for depression?’ I was required to sign a five-year consent agreement, with stringent quarterly regimen; each quarter, the following had to be submitted to the state board: evaluation letters from multiple colleagues to affirm my fitness for practice and appropriate interactions with staff and patients, scheduled meetings with an assigned psychiatrist for validation of my fitness for practice, and a meeting with a board subcommittee, all completed prior to that month’s board meeting. All because I did not hide having been depressed and was (am) still taking an antidepressant. I’ve always wondered what would’ve happened if I’d just lied and said I’ve never been depressed.”

          Of course, even if you lie, the board has the power to subpoena medical records.

          Curious where your state medical board stands on mental health issues? Here’s my only peer-reviewed article that ranks every state—Physician-Friendly States for Mental Health: A Review of Medical Boards

          11. Review hospital privilege and insurance applications.

          Many hospitals ask similar invasive mental health questions. Check wording on applications for hospital staff, insurance credentialing, disability, and life insurance.

          “I’ve seen good friends denied disability and life insurance policies tiered to same as 1-pack-per-day smokers because of history of depression (even well controlled with meds). Coercive and unnecessary referrals to PHPs. Sometimes boards take away the physician’s freedom, dignity, even license. Agencies and some boards don’t differentiate between illness and impairment. They apply policies of ADA and HIPAA differently to physicians in the name of ‘protecting public safety.’ Licensing agencies and corporate medicine can mandate release of information without any sign of impairment. Our physician ER colleague had to fight 10 years for her license due to disclosing feeling the ‘baby blues’ at work. Discrimination SHOULD NOT and DOES NOT only apply to a few listed categories of race, gender. Discrimination due to one’s profession is also a type of discrimination that is not addressed when it comes to physicians’ rights.”

          12. Beware of sharing your mental health with colleagues (especially market competitors).

          Sadly, physicians are highly competitive and they are encouraged to rat each other out by medical boards and hospitals as this woman explains:

          “The only time my physician fiancé got into trouble with the boards of both Texas and Ohio was from a coworker. This other doctor believes that anybody and everybody who is medicated for mental illness is an immediate danger to his patients. So when he overheard my fiancé talking about being on antidepressants (chronic depression since 18 years old due to abuse in his childhood—a fact he always spoke openly about during college, residency, and career) he reported him to the Ohio board. They put him on probation for 5 years even though he never made a major mistake. Then the Texas board heard about it. He didn’t have money or time to run to Texas for the hearings, so he voluntarily gave up his Texas license. That blackballed him with Medicaid and several pharmacies. No wonder doctors are killing themselves.”

          13. Consider curated and confidential peer support.

          Often the most impactful first-line intervention for depressed doctors is peer support. Not with your coworkers or market competitors, but with an intimate group of up to 10 physicians who meet regularly to heal from suicidal thoughts, childhood or residency abuse, isolation, divorce, business problems, and more. No records. Nothing to subpoena. I’ve been curating physician peer support groups every Sunday for nearly ten years. A suicidal surgeon shared, “Spending two hours with you all was more helpful than any therapist I’ve seen, anything they did on inpatient psych, any help I’ve gotten yet.”

          • Pamela Wible MD says:

            A psychiatrists comments on the above 13 tips:

            Another Orwellian twist is that a medical board can not only request your medical records, but prevent the treating physician from informing you that you are under investigation, I know that is true in Oregon. So you can be getting treatment from someone who is sending every chart note to the medical board and who will be prosecuted if they tell you that this is happening.

            Read all 60 comments on how to actually get confidential mental health care.

            If for some reason you cannot view them please Google: “Depressed Doctor: How To Get Confidential Mental Health Help for Physicians” by Pamela Wible, MD

          • Cat says:

            I read the whole article and I am SHOCKED. Like, I am legitimately concerned for the welfare of our doctors, nurses, healthcare system, and citizens. Especially since these are the workers who are on the front lines of everyone’s worst possible day. It’s such a traumatizing job sometimes between lateral and vertical violence, patient violence, violence from families… it never ends. And when you throw in a global pandemic where so many people just couldn’t be saved, that is so deeply wounding. To then turn around and punish physicians and healthcare staff for simply being human seems so deeply unethical to me. I was a psychiatric RN for 3.5 years and the need for mental healthcare is so natural. It’s like punishing people for aging. Preventative care is just as important in psych as in any other body system. And yet, here we are, facing an epidemic where employers and boards demand nothing short of inhuman responses from their staff. The vast majority of physicians and nurses and healthcare staff entered into the profession to help patients, to help people. To be told to serve with compassion but secretly harbor sociopathic tendencies (as that is the only way you could possibly have been unaffected by the pandemic if you worked through it) is just ludicrous to me. I know these are some strong words. Over a year ago you helped me directly, even though I was only an RN and not a physician, and you helped guide me to see that I could no longer be a part of the healthcare industry that treated its employees the way I had witnessed. I began my heartwrenching path to leave healthcare for good. Since then I have done significantly better but how is this industry going to survive? How can we serve our patients to the best of our abilities if we cannot even get help? We have sick doctors and sick nurses who are never allowed to be patients and receive care. It is maddening.

          • Pam says:

            With all of the effort to “legitimize” and take depressive psych issues, “out of the closet” allowing appropriate interventions, it floors me that physicians are put in the position to HIDE theirs.
            We need to care for our caregivers. This is deplorable and those responsible should be ashamed….C’mon people, we can do better than this!!!

          • Pamela Wible MD says:

            And when they ask for “help” they get retaliation & punishment in so-called physician “health” programs that extort hundereds of thousands of dollars for treatment uncovered by insurance that involves gaslighting and non-evidence-based care by a team of community-college-certified “drug counselors” . . . nightmare.

            See TV investigative reports: Doctors fear PHPs—why physicians won’t ask for help

  8. Christine Wilson says:

    This breaks my heart that such a great physician struggled with navigating our Healthcare systems to get the care she needed. Our Healthcare system failed her and continues to fail everyone else facing similar circumstances. It is a tragedy and such loss of humanity. I am truly sad for her family, close friends and colleagues.

  9. Angela Folkard says:

    This is very sad.. I wonder if she had children?

  10. Kathy Stewart says:

    So sorry Pamela, what a tragic loss…. Thank god for you and all the work you do to help physicians and bring awareness to this issue with doctors.

    Love and faith


  11. Andrea says:

    Rest easy—you fought the battle and eternal peace is yours.

  12. Ezra says:

    Such a senseless loss. War Eagle. Rest in peace.

  13. David Levine, DO, RN says:

    As one who has also been faced with physicians unwilling to to trust my experience with medications, I identify with this courageous and tragic physician. It seems like her light burned too briefly but so brightly. Such are meteors.
    Rest in peace and know you accomplished something.

  14. Victoria says:

    I would like to think of Dr. Fernandez as a hero perched on the quarter moon looking down free of pain from undeniable trauma. Fly high and free soaring among the stars.

  15. Madalyn Duffy says:

    Ty Dr Wible, for your continuing efforts to help physicians help themselves (and let the rest of us to simply appreciate and thank our doctors).
    Sincere condolences to her family.

  16. Margie Fuchs says:

    Such a wonderful woman ! I am truly sad she was unable to obtain the care she needed. Our medical system is broken and we cannot obtain the care we need . I receive calls daily of friends and former patients trying to maneuver our system.
    Thank you , Pamela for your beautiful remembrance.

  17. Karen Drodge says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. What a beautiful tribute to her.
    The most tragic part of this is that she was not helped by one of her own.
    So heartbreaking.

  18. Michele348 says:

    She walked this life, driven with a purpose,that is enable others to continue on with their lives. When she reached out for help,it wasn’t to be found. What does that say about our society? Rest in peace, Dr.Michelle!

  19. Nargess says:

    Michelle, l am deeply sad that we lost you! What a huge loss for medical community and your community of patients.
    I am glad that you had Pamela and Karen to connect with also so sad that many of us don’t are so lonely in our suffering. May you rest in peace dear and l am sorry that we never met. God blessings with your soul dear.

    Pamela, thank you for writing this touching obituary. And for keep shedding light on doctors Suicide and being caring. Love you dear

  20. Barbara marstiller says:

    I’m so sorry! As a travel nurse going to crises assignments like Katrina I completely understand her! I can only guess the meds the Drs refused her were scheduled? That is so sad but so common now! I have chronic pain and so many people are dying because of this horrible situation. I applaud her and wish other Drs were as awesome as she was! ❤️🙏

  21. Cat says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. She seemed like a glowing, stellar physician. Many of us, all healthcare staff from doctors and nurses to CNA and even dietary, because we want to help people. We’re inherently giving and put others’ needs above our own. We feel responsible for the lives of others and sometimes that makes it really hard for us to admit weakness, ask for help, and worse… the profession itself often condemns weakness and depression within its own ranks. That makes it harder still to seek help and support. I hope the biggest takeaway from this wonderful woman’s untimely death is that we should be checking in on our “strong” friends. We should be open and available for our coworkers who need extra support. And that we should all be working towards a working environment that is supportive of those who struggle. The pandemic hit everyone in healthcare hard. The burnout is astronomical and just because it is over doesn’t mean the trauma isn’t real. This woman had so many more lives to save and so much more love to give. And I grieve for her like the coworkers I’ve lost.

  22. Kathleen says:

    I am so saddened you left us and heartened by the Truth told by your soul family here.

    May the Good True and Beautiful Ancestors guide you and keep you in Light. May we, your Decendents use our unique medicine just as boldly and burn on in healthy community. Let us not forget you.

  23. Dana says:

    Dr Fernandez was forsaken by the very profession she dedicated her life to.
    Thank you for sharing her story.

  24. Elora says:

    What a beautiful person. What an incredible life.

  25. Elis says:

    What a lovely soul. What a tragic loss. Rest in peace, Michelle.

  26. Donald Turken, MD says:

    The bitter-sweet memory of Michelle lives on in your heart with a smile and a tear in your eye.

  27. Erin Hurley, MD says:

    I am angry and saddened all at once. I am grateful for the tireless work you are doing in this area of medicine and hope to do my part to help improve the often toxic culture of medicine and issues that lead to exhaustion, burnout, and suicide, especially for those affected by ADD/ADHD

    Thank you for giving this incredible woman a voice when her voice is no longer with us. What a tragic loss to medicine and the world.

  28. Ingrid Gutierrez says:

    Heartbreaking! She will be missed!

  29. Dr charles Mandell says:

    What an incredible human bring and physician. And what a terrible loss. I can’t believe there was no physician to treat her in her moment of need. Rather I don’t want to believe it.
    An estimated 400 (probably a lot more)physicians died by suicide last year, and many like her were not categorized appropriately, buying this crisis.
    When 100 police die yearly in the line of duty and maybe 50 more more by suicide, it is a national new headline. Big funeral processions, speeches by politicians, television coverage. As you said, when doctors die, it is often alone and unrecognized.
    The practice of medicine is now the most dangerous job in the US.

  30. Terry K, RN says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a real hero to humanity. Such a tragedy that the healthcare system she devoted her career to failed her. What kind of a society have we become to allow this? Thank you for sharing Dr. Fernandez’s story.

  31. NAHEED MANN says:

    Her life was beautifully portrayed. May she rest in peace ameen!

  32. Stuart Harnden says:

    How sad to read that once again, an extremely talented, motivated, physician has taken their life. May God Rest Her Soul. She did her time on earth and now is being welcomed to do her time in Heaven. She will find her peace forever. Those remaining on earth will also join her again, when our God decides it’s time. To quote psalm 43: “God is close to the broken hearted, and for those who are crushed in spirit, HE saves”. That’s our consolation at the loss of our son also.

  33. Barbara Franklin says:

    Such a tragic loss. She clearly was a light to light the world. How awful that she could not secure the care she needed. The world is poorer because she is gone from it.

  34. Haylin Dennison says:

    Rest in love. Thank you for all the lives you touched and saved.

  35. Dr. Karen Glover says:

    Heartfelt obit.
    The tear was that there was no one willing to support her mental health. That breaks me.
    Thank you for all you do to put physician mental health in the forefront.

  36. Keith Swanson, MD says:

    What a tragedy and loss for everyone. It is an example of the sad state of medical care in this country when a physician , God help a “normal person”, can’t find another physician to provide effective treatment probably because of the fear of the DEA by prescribing controlled meds even if medically indicated. Working in addiction medicine unfortunately I find that this is not an isolated problem. I am saddened by this needless loss.

  37. Rebecca Almeyda says:

    What a tragic loss for all of humanity. Incredible. Am so sorry for her loss. It did not have to be this way.

  38. Joe Ldyon says:

    I had the pleasure of talking to Michelle a year or so ago.
    She was definitely a bundle of energy.
    I will miss her and always remember her.

  39. Shushana Castle says:

    Crushing and heartbreaking.
    Rest in peace dear sweet Michelle. Rest in peace.

  40. Sara M says:

    This is incredibly heartbreaking to read… Especially when you consider the extreme places she’s worked,the people she has helped and lives she has touched. Sending compassion, healing and love to her family and friends…My heart breaks for a world that has no effective behavioral health care system. There are too few clinicians who even have the time to treat the “whole” patient( Body, soul and spirit) and not just the symptoms with another drug or test.

  41. Annie Wenger-Nabigon, Ph.D. says:

    I’m so sorry you needed to leave your life on this planet. May your spirit heal and thrive. May the sparks from your bright light continue to inspire the rest of us as we try to hold up our part of the world. Thank you for the blessing of your brilliance and love.

  42. Carol Lindsey says:

    RIP, Michelle. In your life, you shined brightly!!!!! My heart breaks for the deep depression you were forced down into when you couldn’t find a single psych professional to help you out. I’m sorry the system failed you, and is itself failing.

    As a dermatology PA, I’m pressured with patient numbers over patient care, with a system that has no regard for my own wellbeing. It’s hard and getting harder.

    Your patients were so lucky to have you caring for them. The world benefitted from your commitment to quality medicine.

    May we better look out for one another. May we remember why we got into this business. May the system see a paradigm shift.


  43. Jill Stewart says:

    If only… I would have happily prescribed her meds for her. How can we be so cruel to one another? My sincerest condolences to her friends and family.

  44. Emily Ullrich says:

    As a high functioning ADHDer and chronic pain patient myself, I am devastated, yet not at all surprised to read this. We have a severe healthcare crisis in the US, especially for women, especially for minorities including disabled and neurodivergent people. It’s truly heartbreaking that even a doctor couldn’t get the care she needed.

  45. Kent says:

    Pamela, I am sorry for you losing your friend Michelle. May her memory be for a blessing.

  46. Sheila. Farmer,M.D.(ret.) says:

    What a tragedy for her family, friends and patients, especially the ones she will never see. My deepest sympathy to all who came to know and love her.

  47. Margaret Christensen, MD says:

    Heartbreaking. Thank you for honoring Dr Fernandez in this way. What an amazing tribute to an amazing Light, who suffered inexplicable tragedy. And to think this was a physician who couldn’t get her meds filled- what do you have to do if your just a regular person?
    Thank you Pam for creating a space to honor the many who have fallen before her and for creating a space to speak the truth of physician betrayal by our “healthcare” system.

  48. Kernan Manion says:

    Beautifully written Pamela and Dr. Fernandez’ dear friends! Such a loving tribute. Physicians’ plights with MH or SA conditions are dire, and that’s if you’re already in treatment for them. If a PHP really was the physicians’ ally, perhaps they should have seen her in the interim. But they’re so entangled with medical boards that, even if they were willing to step up, she’d be ensnared in their talons for the remainder of her career. From PHP to 4 day eval to 90 days hosp, to 5 yrs monitoring to loss of hospital privileges to loss of license. The only remedy is going to be state and national legislation protecting docs’ right to get MH care free of any MLB or PHP ensnarement.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      and I repeat (for the overly trusting or naive) NEVER mix your personal mental health issues with your professional records (including regulatory agencies like med boards & physician “health”programs. If you are a competent and qualified physician revealing your personal struggles with your supervisors, boards, monitoring programs is a recipe for involuntary civil commitment ad extortion. For those reading this who have no idea what the heck Kernan & I are referencing please see this: Doctors fear PHPs—why physicians won’t ask for help

  49. Michelle M says:

    So sorry. Jesus says , “I am the way, the truth and the life”.thank you so much for helping so many in your lifetime.

  50. Karuna says:

    So sad, a reflection of medical practice today. Thankyou for sharing this story.

  51. RAkhi Pal says:

    Dear Dr Fernandez
    While in heaven ( you will definitely be in heaven ) you convey message to all the doctors who sacrificed their lives ;
    Very soon there will be a way to pay tribute and acknowledge all of your dedication, just like the world war veterans. It’s a crisis the world is facing now , not being able take care of the people who are suffering and sacrificing their lives for others.
    Am sure you cards and showed lights to lots who needed it But it won’t go in vain. Lots of love ❤️

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Rakhi that is beautiful and a very forward-thinking way to frame Michelle’s new status as a free spirit.

      Michelle please do send our regards to the suicided doctors who are trying to make sense of the world they left. And please do let me (and us) know how we can uplift and heal our ailing profession. All insights welcome. Come visit me in my dreams baby!

  52. Erika says:

    Her smile was bright, her eyes however were lacking the same light. Devastating, honestly. Rest, oh angel of mercy. I hate you couldn’t find the help you needed while also providing to others.

  53. Jackie Julty says:

    This is so sad and such a loss and totally unnecessary. My condolences to Dr Fernandez’s family , friends, and animal companions.

  54. Jackson Weaver says:

    When Dr. Fernandez was not traveling the world for months at a time, she would spend her weeks contracting with Indian Health Services. She was a true friend to the overlooked and underserved. Dr. Fernandez is deeply missed by her patients and colleagues. Tears were shed when we received the news. Thank you for this obituary!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Oh Jackson I so want to speak with you & anyone who knew and worked with Michelle Fernandez. I’ll email you now.

  55. Pamelas Wible MD says:

    HER PREVIOUS AVERTED SUICIDE ATTEMPT (trigger warning) published with permission as “Lynette” on my blog article: Two doctors (unknowingly) stop each other’s suicides . . .

    Lynette: I’ve been in this trauma group a year though I’ve not been coming lately. I’ll explain why: After my family doc I truly love retired last year, I planned to continue with the “new doc” who’d be taking over her practice. Then I got a call that the new doc was dropping me before meeting me, but refilled my meds for three months to give me time to find another doc. I’d been stable and high functioning for 20 years on meds for major depressive disorder and ADHD. I was unsuccessful finding another doc, so last month I began to self-titrate, knowing an abrupt discontinuation was gonna be “not good.”

    Not good, turned out worse than I imagined. I sank deeper into a dysfunctional depressive hopelessness with ADHD-exacerbated helplessness. Trajectories filled my brain all moving different speeds and paths, pinging, orbiting, colliding, overwhelming and eventually I walked into my backyard, found a good spot in the bushes that would be easy to hose down and got on the ground with my “38 special” loaded and held against my head.

    Seconds from ending it all, pings were racing in my head, then one grabbed ahold of me and filled my brain—“Angela!”

    When the thought of Angela overtook me, I couldn’t pull the trigger.

    Angela’s my savior. She’s here today and she’s greater than the greatest great. I’d been avoiding her and everybody else’s calls for months, but one night a few weeks ago I answered. After we spoke she took it upon herself to find me a doctor. She called so many, screening them until her standards were met. She scheduled my appointment on March 27. I didn’t kill myself on March 24 in my backyard ‘cause I needed to make my appointment—for Angela!

  56. Julie Sherwood says:

    The tragic loss of another beautiful soul. It’s heartbreaking to see our “sickcare” system continuing to be a part of the problem and less of the solution. Many prayers for her close friends and family and for all those who are suffering that they may find light and hope.

  57. David John Schleich says:

    The story of Dr. Michelle Fernandez was poignant to read for several reasons. First, I’ve been a vigilant and persistent critic of the prevailing health care system(s) in North America for many decades now, reflected in writing(s) and in work. I am reminded by learning of Dr. Fernandez’ legacy that I eschewed the highly personal in the generalizations I frequently made about conventional MDs. I am fixing that immediately. Secondly, the very systems in which heroic (in the sense with which that word is used to describe the approach of allopathic medicine) medicine moves are decidedly pernicious in their treatment of diligent, intelligent, tireless healers like Dr. Fernandez; pernicious in their constructed indifference to the toll taken on Doctors like her, permitting/enabling as they do, consummate deference to cash flow and the political goals of established mainstream health practice and reimbursement. Dr. Fernandez is a victim of that cruel process. Finally, learning of Dr. Fernandez’ densely altruistic contributions to the wellbeing, safety and lives of so many, it behooves us to pay attention to her as a casualty of a social and civil structure in the health care terrain which does not value what she (and others like her) valued … service to living beings, to the planet.
    I did not know this woman. I have learned from what her colleagues shared, finally, and am better for it.

  58. Cathy says:

    As someone who struggles with depression as well I cannot imagine not being given access to the medication she needed to stay well! Thank you for sharing her story.

  59. Betsy Gall says:

    My heart is broken learning of yet, another physician suicide. I know and understand the struggles that our doctor’s face. I miss my husband everyday. Thanks Pamela for making a difference in the lives of our doctors. May God bless Dr. Michelle Fernandez.

  60. Alan Briley, RN says:

    Dr. Michelle Fernandez, a hero I would have worked with gladly, I respect her life, and I know why she gave up. I am only a Registered Nurse, with 37 years in health care, 34 years as a RN, and 32 years in the same Emergency Department. I have been through 10 or 12 PCP’s in my adult life since leaving active duty as a paratrooper, team leader, sniper, squad leader, and then a battalion medical officer and company commander. I work as a staff nurse, having been a charge nurse, assistant nurse manager, and the nurse manager of my Emergency Department before returning to staff nurse in the ER after a traumatic family death where I was the primary nurse when my 13 year old nephew came in as a gun shot victim. I still have no mental health assistance besides our “EAP,” and fight to have appropriate health care for my cataracts and blood pressure issues. Critical stress incident debriefings are a joke at our institution, and staffing is luck of the draw. I am tired, and… well you know the rest. Please support, encourage, and love your Emergency physicians, because they may be all that keeps your community and ER alive. Prayers and love for the memory of Michelle.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Oh Alan you have been through so much! If you ever need anyone to talk to (outside of EAP) you are welcome to join our physician support group on Sundays (Michelle was in that group). We are open to all health professionals who are suffering in isolation. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to be the nurse in ED caring for your 13 yo nephew post GSW. Is he alive? Oh gosh. How did you heal from that visceral experience. I would have sucked as a physical ED doc though I feel pretty comfortable as an emotional/spiritual emergency physician.

  61. Dave Adair MD says:

    Sad to read of someone with so much life extinguished tragically because of a lack of access to self-care. Doctors, we are all human too. Rule one patients die. Rule two doctors can’t change rule one. A loss of life is always difficult, these take a special notice of warning, fellow docs beware. Check on each other and for God’s sake raise your hand when you need help. I did not Dr Fernandez personally but do know several other Dr Fernandez. They too, as well as all physicians have our moments of the dark devil dog. It is good and right to acknowledge this loss and memorialize it so as to help other docs in position to do self harm. We know how to safe lives and unfortunately how to take our own. I would of welcomed the chance to meet such a vibrant person and professional. Let’s try to keep this from repeating. RIP life savior and changer for good. You made a big difference reading from the accolades and tributes. Sorry our system failed you.

  62. Karen E. Gould says:

    I am a ‘fairly ordinary citizen’ in Canada. I did have my share of ‘hard knocks’ as a result of my Danish father losing all his money in the stock market before I was born (youngest of 6). I NEVER knew my father, my older siblings did. That was another era, late 1930’s & 40’s. I am not disclosing my father’s fate, as I am mostly unknown on this site.
    I will say, I can RELATE & UNDERSTAND the terrifuc loss of Dr. Michelke Fernandez!!!

    Thus is the FIRST I have ever heard of ANY Doctor committing suicide; and I am 74.5 years in age. Thank you for ‘letting the cat out if the bag’; so to speak.

    I DO know of a man from India who was father of a dear female, Registered Nurse friend of mine, here in Victoria, Canada. There were also 2 sons & another daughter & the Subject’s hard working wife
    This real life happening occured 46 years ago, in Victoria, Canada.
    The FATHER (subject if story) had been in a Psychiatric TReatment Centre in Gtr. Vancouver, Canada flr Depression; prior to THIS event.
    This Father went to the Emergency Ward in Victoria, BC as his, then, current medication either wasn’t working OR he was out of medication
    The Emergency Doctors refused to believe him. His agony went on until he could no longer stand it; and he shot himself in the family’s bathroom. My female friend was 11 years old at the time & was at home when this happened. I realize I veered off the focus of Dr. Michelle Fernandez. For this I apologize. We, the WORLD; still have SUCH a horrendously long way to go with Mental Health acknowledgement, understanding and compassion. Thank you for sharing this CURRENT EXAMPLE of, (not a general nember if tge oublic) but if a very effective living, caring, equipped Physician.

  63. Ellynn Szoke says:

    I did not know Michelle, but your obituary did a wonderful job of describing her. It is beyond heartbreaking that people who are using benzos to live their best life are robbed of the opportunity. We have been unable to separate the people use them to live productive lives and those who abuse them and so everyone suffers. I have heard this story far too many times. May she RIP.

  64. MARCUS J FIDEL, MD says:

    Memory Eternal. May peace be your journey.

  65. Bridget C says:

    I am sorry for your personal loss Pamela and I am sorry for our society that we can’t figure out the basics of how to treat each other like human beings.
    May she rest in peace.

  66. Steve says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. It’s all so needless.
    The way society acts, the way things go down, the way it’s covered up are all a shame.
    You do good and important work.
    It will take time, but the tide will turn, albeit slowly, too slowly.
    I hope you’re well and take care of yourself.

  67. Paul Golden says:

    I’m so sorry. Sylvia Plath’s suicide was so sanitized. Obituaries shouldn’t say sudden loss or pneumonia. They should say died by suicide. Also, suicidal ideation by someone with a sound mind (or even not) shouldn’t be cause for 72 hour hold, 5150. The hooker is how does one know if the individual is a danger to others. I have a chapter on Plath and my book. I’ll send you the chapters from a bigger book. Keep the faith. P.

  68. Liz Olson says:

    Dr. Pamela,
    How can we better support and protect people with necessary medications? Hard to hear that the doctor transfer went so wrong… esp as your friend found it so hard to do. I have clients unable to secure meds in this whirlwind of economic distress…
    Thank you for sharing her life story of care and roller coaster experiences. May Michelle rest in peace as her story continues on.


  69. Meredith Addison says:

    Thank you Dr. Wible!!!!

    I am scheduled to be spending the day with our prior Surgeon General of the United States Jerome Adams at an event of Purdue Global on EQUITY February 29th, and will hand-carry this obituary to share with him in hopes we can plant a seed and grow a forest of future resilience and rescue to enable us to MOVE UPSTREAM in these cases.

    There is no way to guess or relate how many times I have intervened in such cases in the emergency department as folks come at their worst of times looking for help.

    She looked like a brilliant soul and I am thankful to have learned of her… just keep praying to MOVE UPSTREAM and to CATCH em BEFORE they fall… or to support them as they do BEFORE it is too little and too late….

    Thank YOU for turning TOWARDS the challenge and not simply joining the “BMW” club…. Bi… Moan… Whine….. which I sometimes hear around me….. I realize it is the breezy sound of frustration and can be turned into action through contact and connection with folks who care… no matter where…..

    God bless us and keep us looking TOWARDS what gifts we CAN open and share with one another!!!!

    “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

  70. Bobby Smith says:

    Thanks, Pamela, for sharing the news.
    I am sorry about Dr. Fernandez. She must have been in great pain.
    For those left behind, many existential questions may arise and they can be hard to think about and even impossible to answer. I hope that you will be ok with her decision some day.

    The pain of grief never goes away. You just get better at carrying it.

  71. Catlyn Chaus says:

    So sorry to hear this but medicine sucks the life out of its workers. We all start with good intentions but medicine isn’t worth it.

  72. Stephanie Convey says:

    Dr. Wible thank you for sharing this beautiful and painful story. I’m a nurse practitioner working in primary care. How in the world was it that she could not find a prescriber that would not continue her medication’s?
    I’m devastated for her, her loved ones, and for the world that still needs her.

    Thank you for all you do.

  73. melissa freeman says:

    It is impossible for some people to believe that people like doctors in positions of power are actually suffering, and sometimes suffering because of their positions

    • Louise B Andrew MD JD says:

      Sadly, we on this forum including you, Melissa know this only too well. I believe it has been published here before, but my Medscape article on Physician Suicide might be informative to some who are new to the issue: https://bit.ly/22MSMDSuicide . There, I tried to explain not only the basic knowledge about the phenomenon and its prevention, but also some of the ways that the Medical Regulatory Therapeutic (Rehabilitation) Complex has so complicated the picture (sometimes lethally) in the last decade.

  74. Stephanie Convey says:

    I’m so sorry. So tragic.
    Is this any theme that you see among physicians who are committing suicide, that they are on benzos?

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Yes. A theme among some. Here is another (similar story) . . . doctor retired . . . benzo withdrawal . . .

      Why “Happy” Doctors Die By Suicide

      He was the go-to sports guy in Washington, DC. A masterful surgeon with countless academic publications, he trained orthopaedic surgeons across the world and was the top physician for professional sports teams and Olympians.

      Dr. Benjamin Shaffer had it all.

      Yet Ben was more than a stellar surgeon. He was a kind, sweet, brilliant, and sensitive soul who could relate to anyone—from inner city children to Supreme Court justices. He was gorgeous and magnetic with a sense of humor and a zest for life that was contagious. Most of all, he loved helping people. Patients came to him in pain and left his office laughing. They called him “Dr. Smiles.”

      Ben was at the top of his game when he ended his life. So why did he die?

      Underneath his irresistible smile, Ben hid a lifetime of anxiety amid his professional achievements. He had recently been weaned off anxiolytics and was suffering from rebound anxiety and insomnia—sleeping just a few hours per night and trying to operate and treat patients each day. Then his psychiatrist retired and passed him on to a new one.

      Eight days before he died, his psychiatrist prescribed two new drugs that worsened his insomnia, increased his anxiety, and led to paranoia. He was told he would need medication for the rest of his life. Devastated, Ben feared he would never have a normal life. He told his sister it was “game over.”

      (read full article here)

  75. Bob Angell says:


    What a beautiful, yet sad obituary of someone not being able to receive the proper healthcare needed to function properly. There might have been a salty discharge for a few minutes while this was being read. Thank you for all you do!!



  76. Nishanthie Dolage says:

    I am wondering how did this happen? Extremely sad situation.

    “Despite help from physician friends with finding another doctor, Dr. Fernandez was unable to secure a new physician willing to continue her medications.”

    In the UK system this would have not happened.
    Also in Sri Lanka unless the medication is out of order from the country ( due to lack of money from central budget , however, privately they can export to SL) this would have never happened. USA system seems to be quite different. Young valuable life lost to mother earth.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      How did this happen: Very tough to get controlled substances refilled (and a doc who wants to see patients on drug contracts (with urine checks), double-checking the online Rx drug monitor state by state to make sure these patients are not getting scripts elsewhere . . .Essentially physicians are turned into police in this adversarial and over-regulated environment in which docs fear prescribing legitimately needed meds for patients as they may be deemed an o”ver-prescriber” and invite a med board investigation. This on top of the physician (and psychiatrist) shortage given the mental health crisis we are in now. plus more (to be shared in a forthcoming deeper dive on this very topic).

      • Pamela Wible MD says:

        I am speaking of benzos & methylphinate (ritalin) among others. Michelle was on 4 medications.

        • Shannon O'Connell says:

          Hi Pamela,
          I thought benzo withdrawal can actually be dangerous? I read Matthew Perry’s book and he discussed the dangers of benzo withdrawal causing psychotic breaks and seizures, both of which he experienced. It’s impossible to stop these meds cold turkey without careful monitoring. I also read online that benzo withdrawal can cause insomnia, paranoia and increased anxiety. If people are not allowed their rx anymore for these drugs then they need to be evaluated by a psychiatrist who can slowly taper them off. Not just abruptly end their access! Are doctors not allowed to prescribe these drugs long term anymore? Like why did their new docs not want to give it anymore?

          • Pamela Wible MD says:

            Many boards are coming down on docs who “overprescribe” scheduled drugs. Of course, much is “subjective” and varies state by state. Basically docs descending into self-preservation rather than take on higher needs patients.

  77. JH says:

    So the system failed her more as patient and a physician both

    In system where:

    Doctors are not happy and mistreated , over regulated

    Patients are not happy, bounced between hmos , subject to corporate interest based policies

    A system which consumes higher per capital dollar / patient care

    A system which has lower outcomes that the most other so called wealthy countries

    A System which has more laws suits to enrich lawyers than the next 5 big world systems combined

    A system which has the highest Covid mortality

    How can those rascals in AMA etc and DC sit and market it as the best growth care system !!!!!! Because they r the beneficiaries and not the patient or physicians.

  78. Paul-504 says:

    I knew Michelle personally…..AND SHE WAS FUCKING AWESOME. I heard about this the day after it happened but the pictures broke me up to where I had to leave work. Michelle, you will be missed much! 😢

  79. Victor Lane Rose says:

    Incredible tribute to a life who made such an incredible contribution to others. Well done Dr. Michelle Fernandez. The spirit of what medicine and healthcare is meant to be.

  80. Aaron says:

    This is an extremely well-written obituary. Rest In Peace Dr. Michelle Fernandez.

  81. Ann Jewell says:

    Geez I am really sad reading all this. But very uplifted that you guys cared for her to write an Obit. She sounds like dynamite and a good friend all in one! Thoughts with Michelle and those who loved her💓

  82. Michelle says:

    Damn, healthcare administration. We work our people to the brink of death. It’s just the opposite of what we should do. We should take care of our own. Let’s share change. Let’s share generosity, kindness, and a balance between life and work. Let’s take care of each other and then care for the patients.

  83. Marlene Dial says:

    What a tragedy! She touched many lives it seems. I hope that all she did and what she suffered from helps others. Mental illness is a silent killer sometimes. We all have our demons to battle. I pray that she is at peace. Help is out there don’t suffer in silence there is someone that shares that same burden

  84. Connie Chapman says:

    I am a lifelong friend of the family.
    I have known Michelle since she was born. Yes her family has tried to help Michelle. Her family loves Michelle. We all love Michelle. The family is grieving in private.

    • HAdams Nurse says:

      I understand why her family couldn’t write an obituary, it had nothing to do with guilt or shame; it had everything to do with loss, anguish and the inability to cope.

  85. Maria D Dicino says:

    So doctors make other doctors suffer the way their patients suffer when they can’t get the care they need as well. Unacceptable. In January 2024, I went through major surgery, because at 34, it was discovered I had a Pancreatic birth defect that left me a week to live. The surgery left me permanently disabled at 34 & feeling like I have Pancreatitis 24/7/365. My pain Doctors decided to stop treating my nonstop pain, so I had no choice but to undergo a risky surgery for an intrathecal pain pump & the catheter attached to my spinal cord has been swollen since, so the pump can’t be filled. I can’t even walk without falling. That the medical community does this to its own makes my inherited Sicilian-immigrant temper go into overload. I am sickened to hear this & heartbroken to hear such a bright light in a brilliant doctor & your friend was extinguished from this world. This BS has to stop. I am so sorry for your loss of this lovely woman who also has my heart for rescuing animals, my only joy in life along with my husband. God Bless her soul & her friends who loved this beautiful doctor/woman/decent human being.

  86. Suzi says:

    She sounds amazing. That she couldn’t get the help she needed is unbelievable. This is a beautiful obituary. Mental Health is a medical health issue and needs to be addressed as such.

    I am sorry for such a huge loss to society and for Michelle’s family. I hope she is at peace.

  87. paul g. breda says:

    beautiful, inside and out, forever.

  88. Sharon says:

    Michelle was deeply loved by her family. There was never a time that her parents or extended relatives didn’t try to reach out to her and get her the proper medical care she so desperately needed. It saddens me to think that the medical community, responding to this post, believes Michelle only needed her medication. This seems so shortsighted. Our family is grieving deeply. We are trying to make sense of all of this. Michelle comes from a very large and loving family. We are all happy to see there are so many that cared for her and loved her. But this post is very hurtful and only makes us grieve deeper. We believe there is some information shared here that Michelle would find very personal and private, as do we.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Michelle has been very vocal about sharing the truth of her lifelong mental health struggles. She believes (as we do) that secrecy about suicide fuels despair for those who suffer in silence. We wanted to honor Michelle in her obituary according to her wishes. Some family have relayed how much they love and appreciate our brief tribute. I’m aware that Michelle has been estranged from other family, yet we hope her celebration of life can bring healing and closure to all who know and love her. 💕🙏

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Oh and yes, the complexity of suicide is often multi-factorial. Michelle’s lack of medical care (& medications) is what we believe (based on antecedent communication & interventions) put her over the edge.

  89. F..E.. Abrams says:

    How terribly sad-particularly given that this compassionate, dedicated physician could not find another physician willing to help her. This is another example of how badly broken our health care system is.

  90. Sharyn lee says:

    Of course, like others I am horrified by this tragic loss of a generous Caring physician.

    I will say that it is incredulous that she was unable to find ANYONE that would accept her as a patient for whom benzodiazepines were an effective therapy for many years.
    Were there no other substitutes that would work? Could she and her colleagues appealed to the medical board in her state proactively to describe her need and the success of this therapy for over 20 years?

    Perhaps I don’t understand the depth of her dispair…or don’t realize how broken our healthcare is…
    I hope her story will be a beacon that will shine the light of hope for all…

  91. Rob Ferris says:

    What a wonderful legacy, and a terrible tragedy. caregivers first responders physicians, the entire family of us that have been chosen to help others and risk our own lives to do so somehow have fallen into an abyss. God willing, stories like this may help us rely on those that care about us, the most within our professions and families. I hope I never read another story like this but I’m grateful that I have read this one.

  92. Jaclyn says:

    WOW…I am speechless, stunned and disappointed in the medical system. Reading how a doctor couldn’t receive the required treatment is appalling. My thought logic is that doctors would take care of their own.
    A very sad story and it is my hope it will open eyes to make change.

  93. Brian Fahey says:

    A beautiful obituary. Rest in peace.

  94. John says:

    It is truly a shame that the medical field that she worked so hard and long with dropped the ball on her.
    The world became brighter because of her. Now in light has gone out.

  95. Robert Maxwell says:

    And that my friends, goes to show you never know what demons somebody may be wrestling with, suicide is a very permanent solution to those that might have a temporary problem that they can’t see their way out. It is a shame because she had done so much and was a good physician, the world lost another great one. I have known so many people to take their life by suicide, those people have seem so “on top of things” or “ahead of their game”. Please rest in power.

  96. Joe Hidalgo says:

    Pamela — An exceptional tribute to a dynamic, beautiful, talented human being. A salute to all of her physician friends who respectfully contributed to her obituary. Pure love.

    Joe Hidalgo

  97. Ed Sackaney says:

    Thank you for writing her obituary and making her a remarkable person. Suicide does not make a human being less, but it’s definitely a tragedy in how she left. She may have had a family thus I am thinking of them.

  98. Charles Moore says:

    She did so much for so many. As I read this I thought to myself “What a leader she was… what an encouragement she was to so many and what a foundation she exemplified for other to stand on. I have always been careful to express my gratitude to all health professionals I come in contact with. Even though I never met her it would have been a privilege to. She had helped so many yet in the end she didn’t receive enough for herself. I say thank you for the ones who did this for her. May God Bless

  99. Sheri Fellat says:

    This is tragic! I see it all the time. So sorry for the loss of this amazing person so willing to help everyone else and can’t get anyone to step up for her. I’m crying as I write this.

    What a lovely tribute. Thank you for sharing.

  100. Larry J Snyder says:

    Hard to find words here. Someone gives everything they have to others and nothing left in the tank for herself. Thank you special human. You left the world better.

  101. Pasha Ghorashy says:

    What a very nice outreach for a remarkable person. Truly wish this was not a true story. Rest in Peace beautiful soul.

  102. Ronald Biederman says:

    Wonderful Tribute

  103. Abbey says:

    This is even more tragic because she was a physician and when she tried no one answered. Such a huge loss shows the absolute lack of quality and responsive mental health care. I’m so sorry for her loss. Indeed her memory shall be a blessing to us all. RIP sweet doctor.

  104. Steve Schofro says:

    FYI, ADHD sufferers have super brains. Blessing and curse at the same time. Lamotrigine is a wonder drug for that blessing. To know, generics can vary by 20% in the active ingredient. Ensure you get the same manufacturer with every refill. Research the good manufacturers. Get 90 days from the same manufacturer. This will save a life. Mental health, heart medications blood levels are very important. Too much, lethargic and a little depressed. Wonderful woman. Giving back. Those types we do not have enough of. Blessings out there.

  105. Martha Mortenson says:

    Thank you so much for writing this beautiful tribute to such an incredible doctor. Depression isn’t always visible from the outside, some like my niece smile and laugh while the pain of living lies buried.

    As mentioned by others, her story reveals so many of the problems in the healthcare system we have today.

    I’m honored to have read about your dear friend, she will always be in your heart and memories. Knowing her changed you and those who knew her! Prayers of peace and comfort to all who were close.

  106. Sao says:

    This was such a captivating & heartfelt obituary – although I did not know Michelle – reading this brought a tear to my eyes. How can someone in the medical field fall through the cracks?!? This is more “proof” our Medical system is Broken in so many ways. Especially when it comes to Mental Health Services. I just hope her death is not in vain. 🙏✝️🙏

  107. Larry Segall ACSW LCSW says:

    A loss to those who loved her and those who gained energy by being patients and those who found new beginnings by association with her. At her final act, she need a Dr Michelle in her corner for medication management, psychiatric connections and a talented behavioral therapist to help cope and manage her depressive feelings.Somebody out there in New Orleans needed to step up to be her emotional life support confidante. Not an obituary, a celebration and memories of a woman who was much more than being a physician. “Do no harm and heal others, so unfortunate that did not apply to self: Do no harm to me and find ways and supports to stay alive with purpose and recovery. Larry Segall ACSW, LCSW, CT

  108. Terry Yatteau says:

    Such a loss that should have been avoided. Very sad….for her, you as her friend and society. One less person who makes a difference.
    Will pray for her soul and others that feel how she felt.

  109. Melanie says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a legacy gone too soon. She made the world better with her presence, and hopefully, in her passing she will bring awareness and compassion to physicians seeking help. RIP

  110. J. George says:

    BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. She deserved to be celebrated even in her passing. I pray that physicians and caregivers will truly realize that providing adequate care saces lives…it may have saved hers. God bless you, Pamela, and her friends that cared enough.

  111. Kate Yadan says:

    What a gorgeous and loving tribute to a woman who lived life to the fullest!

  112. Bernie Grebe says:

    So very sad, yet there’s always Hope. Dr. F. Embodied that very word and saved others. Thank You for writing such a tribute to this wonderful human being, thank you for bringing her plight to light.

  113. Erica M. Johnson Lockett says:

    Pamela, your tribute to Dr. Michelle Fernandez resonates with heartfelt emotion and profound inspiration. Dr. Fernandez’s unwavering dedication to saving lives, coupled with her compassionate spirit, leaves an indelible mark on all who hear her story. The stark reality of her struggle with access to appropriate care with medication management sheds light on a pervasive issue that touches countless lives. Your unwavering determination to ensure her story is told speaks volumes about your love and respect for her enduring legacy.

    In the face of adversity, you and Dr. Fernandez’s physician friends have exemplified the power of love and remembrance. Through the honest portrayal of her journey, you’ve not only honored her memory but ignited a beacon of hope for those facing similar challenges. Your collective efforts embody the resilience and compassion that Dr. Fernandez embodied in her life’s work.

    As we reflect on Dr. Fernandez’s remarkable journey, may her legacy serve as a guiding light, inspiring us to advocate tirelessly for improved access to mental health care and unwavering support for all. Your dedication ensures that her light continues to shine brightly, touching hearts and inspiring change. With deepest gratitude and heartfelt condolences to you and everyone touched by her extraordinary life, we embrace the opportunity to celebrate her legacy and carry her spirit forward with boundless love and compassion. 🙏🏾💚🙏🏾

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Erica! Thank you for loving Michelle (even if you never met her!) I hope this obituary gives people the experience of viscerally meeting her in spirit. She lives on in the ethereal realms.

  114. Adeke says:

    This is a wonderful tribute to your friend and the world lost an amazing spirit and doctor. So sad we couldn’t keep her. Well done to all involved in remembering her. X

  115. Bonita says:

    I did not know Dr. Fernandez, but heart does. May she rest in well-deserved peace.

    Namaste, Bonita

  116. Dejaay says:

    Your beautiful spirit and commitment to those you touched was extraordinary. People loved your knowledge, wisdom and joy.
    What you have done for others can’t be measured on earth.
    I’m sorry the system you dedicated your life to let you down.
    Your colleagues and friends have loved and admire you. They sorely miss you too.
    Now fly high and soar in your new found freedom.
    Blessings to you.

  117. Trevor Klein says:

    It is sad that the world had to lose a superstar in so many ways to mental health, because of whatever walls existed that prevented soneone to take over from a well documented and working methodology. For that, there are no true answers, so we are left to celebrate the shooting star she was and revel in the evaporating light of her just being.

  118. Rachel says:

    This hits hard and I never knew Michelle. As a sufferer of depression I know it can be controlled but it never goes away. I have my dark days from childhood trauma and I fight it everyday. May God have mercy on Michelle by what I read she was a beautiful human being. Rest in paradise Michelle, you are no longer hurting….😔🦋

  119. Indy Robinson says:

    My biggest concern about this story is why can’t a doctor herself get better treatment than us citizens. But it’s not about being part of any networks; it is about knowing you’ll be taken care of… regardless of your situation.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Follow-up piece coming that will answer that question.

      Why can’t a doctor find a doctor to refill or safely taper benzodiazepines?

      The average family doc is responsible for 2,500 patients. A patient on controlled substances is more work. Filing a drug contract, checking online prescription monitoring (to ensure no drug-sneaking elsewhere), reviewing urine screens for illicit drugs, a physician starts to feel like a police officer!

      In the “good-old days,” physicians (like my parents) prescribed benzos with no inconvenience (in my childhood home we had stock bottles with thousands of Valium in our basement!). Now few docs accept benzo patients. Those who do are inundated and risk investigation for over-prescribing—leading to license sanctions and career suicide.

  120. Doc Mary Lonigro, DSW says:

    A beautiful tribute to her life and soul! I found it quite sad that she, herself, being a physician could not find another physician to support her medical needs.
    It does seem as though the system failed her!
    Your tribute is a must welcomed teaching moment, possibly preventing another soul like hers to be assisted more effectively.
    Thank you for sharing her story and referencing her true spirit!

  121. Cat Lady says:

    What a beautiful tribute. Her life is a book I would have read!! And a cat lady too. I’m so sorry she left this world. May Dr. Michelle Fernandez name always be a blessing, especially to those who loved her.

  122. Mimi says:

    RIP Dr. Fernandez! Thank you for sharing.

  123. Peter Leftheris says:

    How sad and tragic. Her life should not have ended yet.

  124. Ruth says:

    That is an unbelievable tragedy there really is no excuse that she could not find another MD.

  125. Angela says:

    What a beautiful tribute.
    Thank you for sharing her story.
    I wish I had the pleasure of knowing her and I am heartbroken that she faced such sadness alone.

    I hope this story helps the many people who struggle with this illness. God Bless you Michelle.

  126. Prston says:

    Incredibly tragic story. Mental health / depression is so lethal, without good professionals to help. If they will help.

  127. Elizabeth Cookson MD says:

    Thank you for sharing the life of an extraordinary human being. My one quibble with the obituary is with the concept of “choosing” suicide. She chose neither depression nor ADHD, and apparently did not choose to discontinue treatment. Her psychiatric conditions, not her free choice, caused her death.

  128. Ricardo Flores G says:

    This strikes my heart “Dr. Fernandez was unable to secure a new physician willing to continue her medications.” I cannot discern how something like this is possible. It’s heartbreaking.

  129. Anne smith says:

    Beyond heartbreaking 💔 to read. A precious young soul.

    Very sad, she reached out to help so many people. Giving her time freely & and willingly, but she never got the help she needed for her own well-being.

    No words to express this unfortunate happening.🙃

  130. Dr. Carson Castleman says:

    Thank you for publishing her obituary. I did not have the privilege to meet her but this obituary allowed me the opportunity to honor someone who is honorable. Simply heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time!

  131. Hernan Reyes says:

    May she rest in peace and her death shine a light on the stigma of mental health issues.

  132. Robin Moran says:

    I remember seeing that she had passed back in December and I am so glad y’all wrote the obituary. What an amazing woman. It shows me that even a doctor can have and suffer with depression. Suicide hits home with me so I know the pain that her friends are having. It’s tough dealing with suicide. Bless you all!

  133. Sharon Layden says:

    Tragic. It seems as though our current perspective is so one dimensional that one thing becomes the priority (drug abuse in this case). Balancing from a holistic consideration becomes impossible when medical practice is done by politicians and rule makers using one size fits all. So sad.

  134. Jackie Pellizzari says:

    This broke my heart. Wishing her eternal peace 💜

  135. Mary Conner says:

    This is so unbelievably sad. What an enormous loss to the world. This is heart breaking beyond belief.

  136. Mary Skalski says:

    Beautiful insights into a great person who should be recognized and loved for who she was and for what she did! Her suicide speaks only to her tiredness and despair, not to who she was !

  137. Nehamashira Davidson says:

    It is unthinkable that a new physician would refuse to continue medications on a patient who had been stably maintained on a successful regime. This death was completely preventable, and whoever was her attending at the time has some serious reflection to do. Irresponsible.

  138. Donna McKelvy says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a woman who sounds amazing. I wish I had known her as a friend. The world needs more people like her as well as Dr. Wible who cared enough to not allow Michelle Fernandez to simply pass without notice.
    God rest Dr. Fernandez and God bless Dr. Wible.

  139. Jessica S. says:

    What a wonderful soul! I didn’t know Dr. Michelle Fernandez but she will forever be in my heart. She had a giving heart. We need more selfless people on the plant. It would have been an honor to have met her. Blessings to her family and animals.

  140. Andy Thomson says:

    A lovely human being gone too soon from this world!

  141. Susan Garbutt says:

    I know your friend would be so proud of the amazing, well written obituary you wrote for all of those who knew her or not; to read about what a truly fabulous human being she was. I am incredibly saddened that she did not get the help from her medical community to continue her medications when she clearly gave so much to the medical profession throughout her life journey. You have painted a beautiful picture of who she was and how she can be remembered. That is a true demonstration of a lovely gesture of heartfelt friendship.

  142. Michel Anne Thorpe says:

    Horrible that a new MD refused to continue a med regimen that had clearly been and clinically proven to be effective. There should definitely be a lesson to be learned here…Thank you Dr. Michelle Fernandez for all you contributed to this life.

  143. Michelle Roeding says:

    I am so sorry for the terrible loss of your friend and her gift of light and life to so many people. May she be at peace now with a life well-lived and may she know eternal love and acceptance forevermore. She was truly a gift to the world.

  144. Anna K. says:

    i’m calling bs. how can she not find a dr to continue meds? that does not even make sense. retiring drs have others who will take on their patients at least temp

  145. Jessica says:

    What a powerful being here on earth, and she left too soon. I’m happy to read she left her mark on this hardship planet for so very many. Reading your obituary Michelle, I can see you in many of the providers I work with. You were not alone in your struggles and I want to be the one to recognize and offer compassion to those around me who might be struggling. I will take your story with me to work every day. I Promise.

  146. Junemarie Williams says:

    I’m in tears now, not even knowing her. You see, I retired ON THAT DAY from being a mental health nurse practitioner. I have received phone calls and text messages from patients who I referred out to other NPs and MDs , they (patients) were frantically trying to continue the medications they needed for depression and ADHD. This hits home. Hard.

  147. AlohaFleurLei says:

    America’s health care is not the best in the world. A MD who can’t find a doctor. We are doomed. RIP.

  148. Jackie says:

    Dr.Fernandez, may you rest in peace🙏
    This is heartbreaking. How could this happen in this day and age?
    Shame on them for not helping a fellow physician in need of medical care and treatment.
    A doctor who gave her life to helping others.

    Just so sad.. I will pray for her and all those that loved her🙏

  149. Alma says:

    Thank you for sharing her story and her journey. My respect for her hard work and dedication to her profession and others.
    RIP Dr. Fernandez.

  150. Barrie Q says:

    Healthcare providers are such a high risk group for suicide…I’m profoundly saddened T the fact another physician would not carry on her medication regimen that had worked for years, the very profession she loved, was the one that failed her at her darkest time. May God Bless her, may her kind friends that thought so much of her find peace and laughter in her memories. My heart goes out to all of you, a beautiful fierce life, lost in a single moment of helplessness and hopelessness, if you could take that one moment back…

  151. Cindy Harper says:

    What a beautiful tribute for an outstanding woman! Mental health is such an issue. What a huge loss, thank you for sharing her story.

  152. Jeron Hill says:

    Prayers are with you and your family may God comfort you in this time of grief she was a amazing doctor

  153. Kim says:

    How very sad and what a beautiful soul. I am sorry for your loss and the loss to the community she served. Thank you for writing an obituary and sharing her story. May she RIP.

  154. Clay Bain says:

    What a warrior for good. She seems to have been an amazing person giving all of herself to others. It is heartbreaking to hear that after a lifetime of helping others, no one would help her when she needed it most. I am saddened by this story. She is in God’s hands now.

  155. Dr. Susana Mendez says:

    It’s very sad to see a colleague with such a brilliant mind get to the deepest sorrows and pain, not able to find solutions. Sometimes people forget that we are human too and we have emotional breakdowns. I never met Dr. Fernandez, I did not know her at all, still breaks my heart to read messages like this one. She deserves the respect and recognition from all her colleagues and her patients, I am sure she provided care with love and compassion to each patient she touched with her knowledge Dr. Fernandez, thank you for everything you did for your community.RIP

  156. Christina Brown says:

    She sounds like a true gift to the medical profession and it’s sad to hear that they in the end failed her. I know how critical meds are for someone with ADHD and depression as my husband battles it daily himself. I pray for peace to her family and loved ones and her cherished kitty cats who I’m sure miss her dearly. She left a mark on this world and the world deserves to hear her story.

  157. Alexey says:

    Beyond sad.
    My people please.

  158. Stephanie says:

    This hit hard! Everyone must read and understand how important it is for those who are stable on their meds to continue them. Thank you sharing her life with us.
    May God heal your heart as you carry her memory.

  159. Jill M Berger-Fiffy says:

    She sounded like she was a beautiful person inside and out. It’s so great that you recognized her. I would have loved to have her as a friend.

  160. Zev says:

    Our world has lost an amazing human being.

  161. Andriah Daley-Bryan says:

    What a wonderful soul. May her memory, love and light live on forever. I don’t know her but her sense of humanity and zest resonate with me a stranger hundreds of miles away.

    Thank you for writing and posting this. She deserves to be recognized and honored.

  162. P Ruiz says:

    In a final act of giving she ensured the truth about her passing was known. Often swept under the rug this type of tragedy happens more often than we care to admit. End the War on Drugs & its cousin The War on Pain patients. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Thank you for allowing others to see the unintended consequences of bad policies that we can change. Allowing doctors to use their education, training and experience with much less supervision by DEA Cops as Docs is an important first step.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Truth is key to ending these needless deaths. Curious where you found this article? Facebook? LinkedIn? I am amazed how many people are still commenting! 😍 Rest in POWER Michelle!

  163. KP says:

    I have adhd and live in the Flathead county in Montana.. no one will treat me for ADHD they keep putting me on new antidepressants that make me feel dead inside.. I have been inaccurately treated for 18 years now.. been on hundreds of antidepressants that always fail.. have begged to be treated for ADHD and NO ONE WILL TREAT ME.. I feel this obituary so deeply and fear this will be my fate as well.. I’m tired of being a failure at everything to everyone..

  164. Susan jarboe says:

    The heartbreak of a beautiful young and brilliant doctor who catered to the less fortunate. I am calling the Attorney General Javier Beccera because one more death due to the lack of access to medication is unacceptable. What a beautiful soul.

  165. char Revelo says:

    This could of been prevented!!!Can’t wait till these crazies have to answer to god!!Wait they will just return to hell!!Beautiful Doctor suffering rest in peace.God please save us!😭

  166. Joel Kekumuwai Peralto says:

    Sounds like Dr Michelle was a shooting star who burned hot and bright during her short but excitement-filled life as a healer, protector and friend to many who were in dire need of love, support and medical attention! Thank you for caring and bringing her story to our attention! Aloha nui….

  167. Lisa says:

    God bless you all for recognizing an amazing soul in the most beautiful way. Your words got to me and I have been through the loss of suicide. We celebrated my friend, despite his anguished death.

  168. Tara Hawkins says:

    How sad and tragic! No matter how someone dies, their life on earth mattered, and clearly Michelle made a lifelong impact on so many others.
    I couldn’t help noticing no family was listed in her obituary, which may be the reason you, her friends and colleagues, chose to remember her and her legacy. It was beautifully written.

    Thank you for your love to Michelle, and sharing her amazing life!

  169. Tracy Foltz says:

    Such a tragic loss to such a wonderful physician and person! I am sad I did not know her! God bless her soul and all those who loved her! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🩷🩷🙏🏻🙏🏻

  170. Amanda.Baldridge-Ford@va.gov says:

    A beautiful tribute to a phenomenal physician. I did not know her personally but this described her so eloquently that I felt as though I had. Absolutely mortifying being in healthcare and having to be concerned with trying to not only be brave enough to ask for care but then the retribution to come. This needs to change!

  171. Rod Antone RN says:

    A beautiful tribute. May she finally get the peace she deserves, the love she sought, and the eternal light she so deserves.

  172. Lynn says:

    Such a loss of a precious soul and amazing person.
    Depression is a deadly disease and can happen to anyone.
    It’s Sad professionals are in the centre of resources and slip through the cracks .
    My heart breaks for those we are unable to help. We need to do better

  173. Theresa Rodes says:

    She certainly deserved a tribute! Such a lovely amazing woman and doctor! May she rest in peace!

  174. Beth says:

    Thank you for sharing what she deserved, a lasting, moving tribute. God rest her soul.

  175. Dawn RN BSN says:

    Words can not express how beautiful & heartfelt , your tribute to your dear friend was written and understood !!
    GOD bless you for writing this . She sounds amazing !!!
    Her death – preventable . So sad , we have come so far in the world of technology and AI , but not compassion and understanding of mental health . GODS timing .

  176. Wendy McNairy says:

    I cried reading this. My own Daughter commited suicide Dec 27th, 2023. She may not have accomplished all that your dear friend did. She was loved and touched more lives than I think she realized. She worked in a hospital for many years, first as a CNA then a transporter. I work in the same hospital as a RN and have always heard how hard a worker she was and how much she touched people. We didnt do one as her children did not want a service or a write-up. I honored this yet insisted on a smal gathering at my home. It was suppose to be small. I was touched and I must say overwelmed with the people that showed up, we didnt announce it except to close coworkers, family and friends. I pray her children saw how much she was loved. Luckily her children are 17 & 18 and well supported. It warms my heart that you did this for this wonderful woman she earned it. God Bless

  177. Vicki says:

    What a beautiful obituary. I have worked in healthcare for 35 years. So many of my have struggled with Mental health issues as a result of childhood trauma or genetics. Most of us know what we need to stay well and can do so with a supportive doctor. So sad that she couldn’t find the supportive doctors she needed.
    What an amazing person she was. I am sure that she is missed.

  178. Frances B Hunt says:

    I am so sorry Michelle couldn’t find a physician to continue her care.The CDC,DEA and the accountable people who protested against opioids. Yes,I am a pain person that no one will treat.I will greave for her.

  179. Georgia in Texas says:

    Thank you for depth and breadth to Dr. Fernandez’s beautiful story.
    It sounds like she was a ray of sunshine, on cloudy days. It is unfortunate that she was denied, what she so freely gave…. An abundant life.

  180. Nelly Padua says:

    Heartbreaking! My sincere condolences to her family, her friends and her patients.

  181. David Trower says:

    Too many times, the caregivers, who have the biggest hearts, get
    neglected…have no energy left to take care of themselves…please study Signs of depression and suicidal
    symptoms so we can never lose the most giving hearts on the planet. Overcome the impulse to think because someone is highly educated and a superman/woman, they don’t need direct conversations of ‘how are you doing?’, ‘Compliment’ them on their work, be as cognizant of suicidal tendencies can be seen in all socioeconomic categories.

  182. PJ Barnard, PhD, RN says:

    How tragically unnecessary! A life well lived. A monumental gaffe. A crushing outcome. May her gifts to those she touched find another soul, keeping her passion alive.

  183. Robert H. says:

    It’s not so easy to kill yourself. How did she actually accomplish the dreaded task?

  184. Donna Thompson says:

    Beautiful obituary. This is so sad. We are in crisis, we are in urgent need of compassionate psychiatrists, psychologist and mental health care professionals. I recently lost my beautiful 42 year old sister from suicide. She was a bright light and yet she could not get the proper treatment she needed for her sadness and depression. Society (healthcare) needs to wake up and provide the same passionate efforts and resources for mental health as would for patients with cardiac or respiratory issues. Let’s stop just throwing around the word “compassion” and actually have some!!!! This is an epidemic ;

  185. Sue Foster says:

    Thank you for sharing the story of an amazing woman. Her death should never over-shadow her incredible life and indomitable human spirit. She didn’t die from suicide. She died from mental health disease. We need to change our way of thinking and how we disrespect a life by focusing on death, instead of celebrating life. May God bless you and may everyone who has read this be as inspired as I am, to live a life filled with meaning, purpose, friends and passion.

  186. Lina K says:

    So absolutely heartbreaking. What a loss for humanity. Thank you for honoring her here.

  187. Diana Pontes Washtock says:

    A beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul.
    A painful reminder of the stigma around ADHD and MDD, that high functioning people couldn’t have “that” and don’t need medication/treatment.
    It sounds like she made the world a better place and brought care into caregiving.

  188. Ellen D says:

    Should not have happened. This is truly disgraceful.

  189. Shannon says:

    Why would they deny her her medications if they have been working well for her for twenty years?

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Great question Shannon. War on drugs. Doctors fear prescribing benzodiazepines and also stimulants because they could face license repercussions. Without the meds, Michelle had to self-taper. “A proper benzodiazepine taper can take many months or even years (one to two months is not enough for many). Even guidelines that recommend a “’low’ taper may be too fast for some.”

  190. Shannon O'Connell says:

    This answers my question I asked above. Do psychiatrists have a little more leeway in prescribing such medications based on individual patient needs and risk?
    In my area I heard about a Dr that was prescribing opioids to a patient who, little did she know, hoarded them, then overdosed. I think she got her license revoked for that. So I can understand why Drs would be afraid to prescribe things like benzos long term.

  191. DrJ2 says:

    What an awesome human! Sounds like a Pamela twin!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      YESSSSSSS we have a LOT in common. She made me a beautiful necklace before she died. I’ll show you at the retreat. She is definitely still ALIVE. Her spirit is magnificent.

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