Hospital fires doctor for having cancer


Dear Pamela,

You’ll never guess what happened to me today. Hours after the National Day of Solidarity to Prevent Physician Suicide volunteer webpage went live, I received an email stating that I am officially terminated from my psychiatry residency program. On this webpage, I spoke about the fact that I had become interested in this event during my struggle to get the medical care I needed throughout my residency for my cancer diagnosis. I heard that people from my department were reading it today. Some stated I was very brave, others, well, others do not appreciate such outspokenness. I was even told by some not to participate in the Solidarity event. What are they afraid of? I speak out because I dream of a future where medical students and residents can live without fear of bullying, harassment, and retaliation. I want doctors to be able to care for themselves as well as others. I documented the obstacles I faced in residency so that I could propose solutions to incorporate into a physician wellness program. I hope that chronically ill residents, as well as residents who need routine care such as therapy, could use this program in the future. In describing the difficulties I faced, I quoted the words spoken to me by my attending physician on the day I was diagnosed with cancer, “you need to choose whether you are a doctor or a patient.”

My program had been punishing me and accusing me of being “unprofessional” for attending appointments despite my informing them in advance and providing doctor’s notes. On the webpage launched today, I stated it was also very difficult for us to get mental health treatment. During my research into why this was the case, I found many examples of other residents who have experienced negative consequences after revealing their need for mental health services. It upset me that stigma is so prevalent in this field. Everyone needs help sometimes and doctors can get sick too. I am not sure how many people are aware of the obstacles physicians face when striving to care for themselves physically and mentally. Once the issue is recognized, we can do something to stop it.

Standing up to this is going to be extremely tough. When I began standing up for my basic human right to lifesaving medical care, I was repeatedly retaliated against. This retaliation occurred even after I pointed out the fact that my doctor stated had I not received the treatment they punished me for, I would not likely be alive today.  That fact did not appear to register with my superiors. I then went to the dean’s office, then to the ombudsman, then to the institution’s president. It was a game of hot potato. It was a problem passed around the institution so fast that no one held on long enough to burn their hands. It was as if they thought that, if they ignored me, I would simply go away. I decided to go outside of the institution. That surely got their attention as not even a month after going to the government I received an email from my institution stating there was a vote for my termination. At least they stopped ignoring me.

I had documentation of what I had been through since my diagnosis and proof that my performance was at or above average. Despite major surgery, tubes, drains, fainting, constant vomiting, and panic attacks I was still able to be a good doctor. I always put the safety of my patients first and I don’t think there is anyone in this world who can contest that, not even those who voted for my termination. I was BOTH a doctor and a patient and despite pressure from above I received excellent evaluations from my attendings. So how on earth did they have justification to fire me?  I had hoped that the dean’s office would look at the facts. Apparently, they didn’t. They chose to officially terminate my employment right after the National Day of Solidarity to Prevent Physician Suicide volunteer webpage went live. I am not sure what to do at this point. Next week I am scheduled to have an MRI and I do not know if I will have a paycheck or even health insurance to cover it. I know you have helped so many other physicians and you are truly an inspiration to me. I can’t wait to meet you on August 20th. I hope all that I have been through will jumpstart a change in the current medical culture. I want future physicians to not be forced to choose between being a doctor or a patient. 

Thank you so much,



Outraged that a hospital would fire a doctor for having cancer? Appalled that a hospital would fire a psychiatric resident for helping suicidal physicians? Show your support. Stand with Stephanie on August 20th.

Please support Stephanie by attending our Solidarity Vigils across America on Saturday, August 20, 2016. Find a Vigil near you on this map. Come meet Stephanie at the Washington DC Vigil or attend one of the other events in Philadelphia, Chicago, Austin, Cleveland, Kansas City, St. Louis,  Athens (OH), Dublin(OH), Harrogate (TN) on August 20th. Middletown (NY) Vigil will be on August 22. Dr. Wible will be speaking at the DC and NY Vigils. Thank you for caring about the people who care for you! 

This blog picked up by The Washington Post: Dismissed George Washington resident with cancer, sues school, alleging discrimination and becomes one of the most read stories of the day. 

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144 comments on “Hospital fires doctor for having cancer
  1. Whitney DiMaio says:

    Knowing Stephanie since we were in Junior High, I can attest to the fact that she has always been one to stand up for others who would not stand up for themselves. She is one of the most caring, genuine, and intelligent people I know. I plan to #standupforstephanie because Doctors can be Patients too! What a disgrace to the medical profession–how hypocritical–to punish a resident physician for seeking necessary medical attention! I hope this creates a ripple effect and raises awareness against abusive practices. I love you, Steph!! Ill keep standing with you!

  2. Carlos Coello says:

    It is really sad and upsetting to read about the perilous journey that this wonderful doctor has been forced to take, just for not being able to keep up to the standards of merciless and arrogant bosses, whose only driving force and goals in life are the dehumanization of the art of medicine. Even though I can’t be physically present at none of the vigil events, I truly support her cause and pray for her prompt recovery. Thank you Pamela for sharing Stephanie’s courageous story.

  3. Lisa Blevins says:

    As if u can decied to be a doctor or patient…’s not like you got cancer on purpose…

  4. Felicia Freeman says:

    I am not a doctor, but even I recognize that doctors are human beings! The abuse of doctors by other doctors is archaic and intolerable! For individuals to violate others because they can indicates a level of mind sickness in and of itself! Teaching hospitals are bound by ethics and morals to stop this abuse immediately, and to provide adequate support for doctors receiving medical and or psychological treatment. Humane treatment us a basic requirement between human beings, and I believe those in the healing professions are and mjuyst he held to the highest standard in this area! To those holding positions of power, I say, physician get thyself help!

  5. Jeff Epstein says:

    My name is Jeff Epstein and I am Assistant Director and co-founder of Citizens’ Media TV on Facebook.

    Our coverage of the Democratic National Convention reached 1.4 million people. Our goal is to give a voice to those in the shadows. To bring light to the darkness. At the DNC we covered the events from the points of view Bernie delegates and protestors.

    We would like to cover Stephanie’s story. If she is comfortable, please have her contact us so we can schedule a time for an interview. Thank you,

  6. Lisa says:

    I am sorry this is happening to you, but I am even more inspired by your courage to communicate to Pamela and to envision change.

    Your Cancer Treatment:
    We don’t need to know what cancer type you have, but in case you are eligible for the life-changing cancer treatment which many cancer patients are alive after having no other hope, I suggest you check on this treatment.
    PV-10 ablates cancer tumors, sending a bystander effect to find and ablate other cancer tumors through out the body.
    It does this rare cancer ablation, all without destroying heathy tissue!

    Stephanie, you sure would make a great spokesperson to both have the treatment yourself (if you are eligible) and to help others get the same treatments as soon as possible.
    So far it appears that pharmacy and the FDA haven’t yet helped to bring this paradigm shift cancer treatment to the people….
    But bold people are using the internet to help make this treatment cancer treatment available to compassionate use and other programs.
    It is called PV-10 and Australia may become the first country to approve it, unless you might help bring it to the USA sooner.
    Australia and New Zealand loves PV-10.
    PV10 can be used on any accessible solid tumor.
    PV-10 is a new first of a kind category among cancer treatments and few know about PV-10 due to our slow FDA and USA health care system.

    I study PV-10 daily and know the company executives also.

    Please feel free to contact me to help anyone who may be eligible to expedite research on PV-10 solid tumor cancer treatment.

    Best of luck to you and the other courageous souls who are doing good things for all!

    Lisa Midlam

    • Laura Cullen says:

      Who are you that we should have any confidence in the claims made? Why have no study references been included? How many/what types of cancer patients have received treatment & what were their documented outcomes. List the published articles, peer reviewed responses? What are your bona fides?

  7. Brian Martin, MD says:

    Perhaps you should share your story with a top employment law attorney. I’ve learned that litigation, and the fear of it, can be a significant force for change.

    My thoughts are with you.

    With the warmest aloha,

  8. Alexys Hillman says:

    I’m with you.

    I’m residency i started writing a book about physician abuse. one day my program director made an announcement that (not naming names), but writing a book, even if for publish after residency, was considered a form of moonlighting and would not be permitted.

    in my first post-residency position, my doctor wrote me a note restricting my duty day and taking me off call because of my deteriorating mental health. after a few weeks, my supervisor came to me and said, “I know you’re not supposed to be working more than this amount, but if you don’t start seeing more patients and taking call, I can’t give you a good evaluation.” I had a doctor’s note, and it was still not good enough. I was perceived as a bad doctor, a slacker, putting my own interests ahead of the clinic and the patients. I ended up attempting suicide twice. even my psychiatrist told me eventually that he thought i wasn’t getting better just because i I wanted to get out of my job.

    I tried to kill myself again 2 weeks later.

    it’s hard to go on some days knowing that there are people out there who think that of me, who give my family dirty looks like they’re in on it. I’m done with this field. I’m done with the abuse. I’m standing right there with you.

  9. Kim Lindsay says:

    This seems highly illegal in terms of EEOC and the rights of the American worker. I live in Ca. and see no vigil in CA listed. My prayers are with Stephanie and this movement. It would be great if a good lawyer would help her! Maybe there is a qualified atty. that one of your followers can recommend?

  10. Shay Hosseinion MD says:

    If it went down like you say it did, you have a right to ask them for your job back, and mention that they will be hearing from your attorney. What you describe sounds like wrongful termination, I’d talk with some employment attorneys. You should not only have your job back, but you should be compensated for their wrong doing and they should be punished.

  11. E. Watts says:

    I am a licensed social worker in healthcare, not a physician, but I too fulfilled an extrodinary dual role as care provider and cancer patient as I cared for 200 dialysis patients after robotic and open surgery, fatigue and radiation treatments in 2015. How disheartening it was for me to care so diligently for my patients all the while some people in my own healthcare system failed to care for me. I experienced bullying and mobbing by several co-workers, and cruel and insensitive comments the day I returned to work from medical leave. My oncologist and medical director were my saving grace as I endured disgraceful and unprofessional co-worker conduct. After 7 months, I finally hit my physical and mental wall. I handed in my resignation at a great personal and professional loss to me and the patients on my caseload. It took me six months to recover physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally, in addition to a personal financial and benefit loss. A healthcare system can be a mecca for abuse or a safe harbor. My mantra – SEE SOMETHING – SAY SOMETHING! The only way to raise awareness and eradicate abuse of ANY care provider.

  12. Shay Hosseinion MD says:

    If it went down like you say it did, you have a right to ask them for your job back, and mention that they will be hearing from your attorney. What you describe sounds like wrongful termination, I’d talk with some employment attorneys. You should not only have your job back, but you should be compensated for their wrong doing and they should be punished.
    The whole “decide whether you are a doctor or a patient?” part is a most unprofessional and inappropriate thing to have said to you.

    I’m proud of your standing up for yourself in the face of such adversity.

  13. Cynthia Elion says:

    I am saddened to hear about the perils you have had to face and prayers for your fight. The sad truth is that all employers will do this to an employee, doctor, secretary, accountant, lawyer, the list goes on. It is as if you have been labeled useless. I don’t have cancer but instead heart disease, I was terminated, I still do not have a job and must file bankruptcy and move due to eviction. So fight on honey for all of us!

  14. Richard Willner says:

    It is a fact. Residents have no due process rights. It is unpleasant, but, that is reality. Most terminated residents hire lawyers who specialize in employment law and they will litigate on contingency. But, if you study case law, you will see the chances of success is absolutely dismal. Fact, is, Residents do not have substantive or factural due process rights under the federal law. The Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986.

    • Dr. Dave says:

      She might not win based on termination alone but maybe for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

      • Richard Willner says:

        Lots of issues here. First, although a Resident gets a check and looks like she is employed, in reality, the Courts consider a Resident to be a continuation of being a student. Yes, I know that the employment lawyers will argue that point with me, but, I invite inspection of other cases to see how many times do employment lawyers win with terminated residents for any reason– a good reason or a bad reason.

        The employment lawyer will litigate on contingency. Sounds great, right? A FREE lawyer. And the promise of the big settlement, right? What are the realistic chances of winning, not based on one’s good intentions, but, on the case history over, say, the last 20 years. Well, how long will this process play out, and will it destroy the Resident’s medical career?

        IF the Resident does win at the trial level, will she win at the Appeal level? Hospitals, Medical Schools, etc will not roll over and play dead.

        Then, there is the challenge of finding a new Residency.

        Regarding the ADA, well, it’s got to be litigated and that means YEARS.

        I certainly do not mean to be “negative”, not at all. This is just a simple evaluation. I wish her all the best.

      • kevin m. windisch MD says:

        not to mention that this sort of termination would be a violation of FEMLA

    • Donna says:

      None of us do, unless at the executive level.

  15. Rita Losee, ScD, RN says:

    Stephanie! I salute you! I salute your courage! I salute your determination! I salute your integrity. I would LOVE to have you as a physician, a mentor, a friend, a sister of healing and health.

    As I sit here at my computer, I am sending you all the loving compassion I can muster — I have an extraordinary capacity for loving compassion.

    I perceive you as an AMAZING woman. And an amazingly powerful one. You are dealing head-on with the exigencies of being a physician in a really tough time for conscientious docs, you are dealing head-on with the exigencies of having cancer and attempting to restore your health in the morass we call healthcare, you are refusing to be silenced and standing in your right to be who you are and to speak up. YOU ROCK!

    Coincidentally, I am reading Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath, the theme of which is the benefit that can emerge from being the underdog. On page 117, he quotes George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

    I am feeling such gratitude for the privilege of being in on this incredibly important conversation! What you, Stephanie, and all the other Wiblers who read and post here, are the best hope for medicine to actually live the Hippocratic oath to do no harm.

    Thank you, dear courageous, powerful doc!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      The Wiblers! Hilarious. I do LOVE that quote amended for Stephanie “The reasonable woman adapts herself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to herself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable woman.” Claim your place in history my friend!!! I am so proud of you!

    • Stephanie says:

      Then I guess I am trying to be the unreasonable women! Contact me at I would love to chat with you.

  16. Susan Delphine Delaney MD, MS says:

    As I read this I kept thinking AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT. As long as she could do her work, there are no grounds for firing her. I kept thinking LAWYER. I kept thinking FMLA even if she were unable to do her work temporarily.

    I had a cervical cancer when I was a resident and was devastated as a then-childless woman. When I told my residency director, a psychiatrist, I was stunned by his lack of compassion and his focus on whether I would be able to work. Thankfully a simple treatment was effective and I missed only a day of work. And I was able to have a child later.

    Young lawyers are subject to (possibly) more human rights violations than doctors. I told a young lawyer-patient of mine of Pamela’s Human Rights for Doctors Movement. He is expected to work a 60 hour week, in spite of working on a MS to enhance his career. He just looked at me as if I had spouted gibberish. No matter. I planted a seed. In fact, he later mentioned the thought of returning to his old firm, where “life-work balance” was the rule.

    Let us hope that what Pamela has begun will spread to other professionals and to the whole world.

    • Stephanie says:

      I’m so glad your treatment was simple. I wonder why psychiatrists in particular lack support for their coworkers?

  17. Lucinda Mundorf says:

    Having born the brunt of such treatment …. Being forced to resign from major medical system after cardiomyopathy…. I completely empathize!!! I too Support You and hope you will get the appropriate legal compensation to support your health and find a healthy environment in which to complete your training!

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you for your support. Let’s work to change this culture! If you have ideas that you’ve taken from your experience I would love to hear them at

  18. Lynn Duffy, DVM says:

    You are already on the path to recovery by getting canned! DO NOT let the turkeys get you down, obviously you are a strong, intelligent woman who can roll with these unfortunate circumstances… you’re on the right path with Dr. Wible and her documentary film in the works. Thanks to her (and now you), I do believe Residents jumping to their deaths and getting fired simply for being sick WILL BE UNACCEPTABLE and not the norm in the very near future. J. Epstein with citizens media TV will help, but the real help will be amending the “Quality” (yeah, right) Health Care Improvement Act of 1986 we now all know about (thanks R. Willner) May everyone who reads of your plight write their representative…in ANY other workplace, your ordeal would be SO, SO illegal. SHAME on the doctors for letting the bean counters run their operations.

  19. John Bechtel says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    First full disclosure: I am a freelance ghostwriter who co-authored a book on medical malpractice coming to the bookshelves in January 2017.

    I empathize with the psychological and physical consequences of your cancer diagnosis. I wish you well with that struggle. I lost a sister at a young age to breast cancer, and there is another young (34) member of my extended family battling the same right now–and she has a one-year old son. To find the energy to fight cancer when you are so sick requires incredible fortitude and courage.

    I cannot comment on the specifics of your difficulties with the medical hierarchy without knowing more information, but in general I would say the medical hierarchy’s greatest fear is damage to their fortress mentality of omniscience; they fear being seen as human, vulnerable and often wrong. They, and they alone, know how many mistakes are made in the OR, in diagnosis and in the exam rooms, and all the decisions, treatments, and procedures that are recommended and performed for pecuniary benefit. Even many of the good doctors who privately loathe the system are reluctant to leave it. Anyone who speaks out or becomes activist is a crack in the dam and must be dealt with with overwhelming force. Politically they are a unified and well funded force; patients and their families are scattered and weak. The favorite defense of physicians whose judgment is questioned is the general perception of them as being wise and beyond criticism. Anything less than that in their mind could result in an assault on the impregnability of the profession as a whole. Doctors who are considered “weak” are treated like handicapped scions of wealthy and powerful families–perhaps cared for but best kept out of sight and kept silent. You are fighting a battle on two fronts. Dr. Wible is an awesome force for good to collaborate with. Good luck with everything, and get better!

    • Stefani D says:

      “…..damage to their fortress mentality of omniscience; they fear being seen as human, vulnerable and often wrong.” What a great summary of everything that is wrong about medical culture, medical education and the good ole boy network.

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you! Can we have the name of your book?

  20. Kelli Olson says:

    I think she needs to get a good lawyer & sue the crap out of them! Sometimes all it takes is a good lawsuit, the loss of money and bad publicity to get change started!

  21. Jose Bolanos says:

    In addition to be stupid and wrong, what they did is a clear violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. It has to be reported to the Equal Employment Commission within 180 days of the event. In my experience academic medical centers are no more likely to do the right thing for the right reasons than any other companies, so I would not plan on them coming around without a large incentive.

  22. ellie says:

    that is so awful and shocking, and yet sadly i am not that surprised. I was discriminated against and punnished by the medical profession for being off sick with a mental health problem in the uk. I had never tried to work when I was unwell and had never done anything wrong at work, but for being off sick i was punnished and it has significantly affected my career. I complained to the General medical council about their treatment of doctors with mental health problems but they refused to investigate my complaint, even with the suicide rates of doctors under investigation being recently at the forefront of medical news. It is so sad and pure discrination, and you get no support, and you are punnished for speaking out about anything. i too want to be a psychiatrist to help reduce stigma etc. there needs to be more support for doctors. my heart goes out to you, although i dont have the awful diagnosis of cancer, i’ve also had other physical problems an i kind of know what its like. stay strong, i paid thousands in lawyers fees not that it got me very far 🙁

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Beware of physician predators who swoop down on victims like Stephanie and take their cut on your misery. Sadly, these folks are everywhere. Physicians who prey on other physicians are the worst!

  23. Nephron says:

    As a fellow, I feel outraged at the way your residency program has treated you. I did my residency in a small inner city hospital and I am glad that I was part of the residents union which had my back throughout residency. A lot of the more “prestigious” academic centers do not even allow their residents to be part of a union. A major academic center in New York went as far as classifying residents as ” students ” so that they could cut costs by sending them benefits and other works associated with employment. Another troubled hospital, after being taken over by a larger academic health care systemm. Promised to keep the residency program if the residents were no longer part of the Union. Lo and behold, after terminating their union contracts the residency program was shut down. Oops. Also, a lot of older doctors are still unhappy with the work hour limitations,lamenting it a a cause of making new residents lazy and unmotivated. Sigh. Stay strong.

  24. Amy says:

    I am sorry for what happens to you. Stay in there. We are rooting for you.

  25. Cornel says:

    Hi Stephanie ,
    First and foremost do not be discouraged ! .
    We saw worst cases than yours .
    Appears as a coward action from your institution .
    Get all the facts together , get a good employment law company and sue your institution for millions including all the people who raised the hand for your dismissal .
    You treat “fire with fire and water with water ”
    All of us are with you !

  26. Lynn Duffy, DVM says:

    P.S. OK, so I now understand the aforementioned “quality health care improvement act of 1986” was designed to keep a national database of sanctioned doctors so they couldn’t move state to state continuing their incompetent practices… but a nasty side effect was protection of the witch hunt reviewers for unjust actions taken against some doctors for personal/political reasons…I don’t think this relates to the problem facing Residents of being cogs in the hospital medical machines… I understand each resident signs away their rights (including OSHA and even basic human rights as we understand them in the USA)when they accept a residency position as part of their employment contracts… now THAT should be illegal…

  27. Zig Euner says:

    This makes me so angry and sick, and also so saddened and disheartened. I’m a first year medical student, with a dream to open an “ideal clinic” when I’m licensed. I also have osteoarthritis and MS. Occurrences like these make me want to quit now while the guitting’s good, so to speak. I’m having so much trouble getting adequate ADA accommodations at my school. I feel like I should get out now, before I’m down the 300K$ cost. (sorry for the pseudonym, I’ve become increasingly paranoid about retribution from my school, for various reasons)

  28. Linda Dyal says:

    If this is indeed how it went down, it’s horrible. You did decide to be a doctor but did NOT decide to be a patient. Who would? What a ridiculous statement! I’m glad you have a good lawyer. I am unable to physically be with you on Sat but will be able to talk to you. Fight the good fight!!

  29. Anna McClelland says:

    I worked in long-term care as a speech therapist. I was on dialysis for 2 years at home hemo without them knowing. A week after I was hospitalized with sepsis and returned to work I was fired. For poor best practices billing errors unprofessional conduct. Sued through eeoc. I won.

  30. Robert Beltran says:

    Solidarity with your fellow medical brothers and sisters on the West Coast is critical. I am in Orange County , California and would love to host a vigil. Please contact me.
    Robert A. Beltran, MD, MBA
    626 255-7399

  31. Christie Murphy says:

    I am so sorry Stephanie. Your residency program is wrong. I think their treatment of you is outrageous.
    The entire graduate medical education needs an overhaul. The ACGME touts resident wellness as a priority. This body has the power to sanction and even close resident programs but they chose not to advocate for individual residents.
    The ACGME, the millions of patients in this country, and every doctor in America needs to make it known that this treatment of residents is unacceptable.

  32. Tammy Eisentrout says:

    I’m sooo sorry for all you have had to go through. You are tough as nails and an inspiration for patients and doctors. Keep your chin up, we support you!

  33. Brella says:

    Stephanie we are with you honey but PLEASE SUE

    you can be the first to stop this terrible cycle
    if you sue

    you will win

    you need to sue please

    please SUE for those that cannot !!

    please take care of yourself, surround yourself with positive vibes and ppl who love you !!! you are gonna fight and win this fight but more so what you need to do is put your foot down and say NO how can you fire me for being sick tho and then expect to be able to pay to cure the sickness? it does not make any sense

    you need to create a big media frenzy out of this because if they are not put on blast publicly for this then they are gonna continue to do this not just to you but to a lot of other people.

    Stand out. and take them to court.

  34. Karyne says:

    I’m so sorry you are going through such a tough time, Stephanie. I hope a solution can be found at a speedy time. Doctors can be patients too!

  35. Lois Rabbitt says:

    Thank you for having the guts to come forward & fight.
    This type of abuse is prevalent in all areas of medicine.
    I know a paramedic who went through this same situation.
    He wasn’t asking for favoritism. Just the ability to work while receiving life saving treatment.
    God Bless You!!!!

  36. Lynn Duffy, DVM says:

    PPS. I’m sorry, I’ve been ruminating on this story…a clear example of doctors eating their young… I KNOW young smart idealistic kids who make it into med school are not brought up with this morality, so the global change HAS to start with the med schools, and has to come from within the profession = KUDOS to you Dr. Wible!!

  37. Michael H Ballard says:

    What sad sad sad little minds would do this? Hmmmm nothing much has changed since my 7 year battle with cancer.

    When medical people do this they reinforce the belief that they are nothing much more
    than mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and NOT so very professional at all.

    Stephenie you are respect and admired for your courage to speak out. Only the shallow and the fearful would release you. I wish for you peace, love and healing personally and professionally. Also much prosperity in your professional journey.

  38. Danielle says:

    I am so so sorry! I also had cancer in residency and my program director and staff and fellow residents were so supportive and bent over backward to help me during that time. They adjusted my schedule so that I could come back after almost a full year away from the program and finish. I know it wasn’t easy for them. I know everyone pitched in and worked harder to cover for me during that time but everyone took care of me as if I was family. It was wonderful and so supportive. It was only after residency when I went into the real world of practicing medicine as a physician cancer survivor and suffering from depression and anxiety that I faced difficulty, isolation, and discrimination due to my mental health issues. I felt forced to resign from job which I loved. This needs to change. We need to change it.

  39. Jillian M says:

    Wow. This is truly upsetting. If we had a choice we would not choose to have cancer diagnosis. However, I believe a Dr. with life experiences such as a life threatening illness makes for a more humble, better Dr. This is awfully disrespectful and downright outrageous that this hospital would fire a physician from their residency because of a cancer diagnosis.

  40. Yasmin Issa M.D. says:

    Dear Stephanie,
    I am sorry that your difficult journey has come to this. It saddens me to see that this abusive cycle has not yet ended. I think Dr’s of this nation should unite. The large numbers will scare those oppressive people in charge of this abuse.
    thank you for Pamela as well.
    I hope to join in the Vigil in NY.
    let us know what else we can do..
    thank you

  41. Rita Fleck, RN says:

    No vigil near me but I’m sure it would be welcomed, as I live near Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill.

    In the meantime, I’m sending best wishes, hugs and prayers for Stephan! Everything is going to be fine. It just doesn’t feel like it right now. Let the love and support of family and friends carry you forward when you’re too tired or discouraged to do it yourself!!

  42. Bob says:

    I am so outraged by this. Stephanie is a hero for standing up for those who are oppressed, even risking and ultimately sacrificing her job to speak out against the serious human rights violations that are silently occurring in our nation’s hospitals. Stephanie did not let the hospital administrators bully and intimidate her into backing down and shutting up. She is one of the bravest people I have ever met. Now it is our turn to #StandUpForStephanie
    They made the biggest mistake of their lives by firing Stephanie for having cancer, sharing her story of what they put her through and standing up for other abused med students, residents and attendings. We will share her story through every outlet we can. We’re with you Stephanie. #StandUpForStephanie

  43. Claire Delcambre says:

    There is so much stupidity in the medical field superiors. To imagine that a doctor would be discharged because of a disability that should be temporary! I would look into the rights of disabled/ cancer patients. I was paraplegic for a time, at 23. I became an OT, because I was appalled at most of the physical and occupational therapy treatments in Helen Hayes rehab hospital in Haverstraw NY. The rehab staff would ignore us and gab amongst themselves. They would make fun of us, within earshot. God bless you. As you work through this, you will receive the best education of how people in medicine treat their patients.

  44. Ann Brooks says:

    Terrible treatment of our best hope for the future. How can they pretend to care for us when they can’t even have empathy for their own.(they are the medical establishment.)

  45. Laurie says:

    Awful, inhumane and typical response by individuals in authority and healthcare institutions. Pattern of sacrificing everything and everyone for the “protection” of the system seems counterproductive when priorities are not aligned with support of the healers and support staff who are generating the income. Really sad state of affairs.
    Has this doctor explored seeking assistance from the
    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at Dept. of Justice?

  46. Denise L. Steiner, DO says:

    I’m astonished but unfortunately not surprised. Doctors who have been patients make better doctors. Medicine is still male dominated. I wonder if she had been male if it would have been different. I hope this beautiful spirit can stay bright throughout her struggle.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Two people have mentioned that males would be treated differently. Any male doctors who have had similar struggles are certainly invited to share their struggles here.

  47. Dottie says:

    You are not alone, though there may be many lonely days ahead.

    We must all stand up to bullying like this.

    Gratitude and kudos to Pamela and Stephanie for their courage.

  48. Lili Buzsaki, MD says:

    I’m sorry you had to go through this. Unfortunately, too many residents I know go through something similar.

  49. Pamela Wible MD says:

    Another issue that is not being addressed is the lack of real work hour restrictions in residencies (they claim 80 hr/week on paper but that is not enforced). I know residents working 40+ hour shifts and 130+ hour work weeks. What can they do? If they report it then their residency mat lose accreditation and they won’t graduate from an accredited program.

  50. Mike says:

    Sounds like a completely emotional one sided story. Why would you ever want a suicidial psychiatrist treating psychiatric patients? And shame on the author for a biased article.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      She’s not a suicidal psychiatrist. Read again.

      Given suicide is an occupational hazard of the profession and nobody wants suicidal doctors then we obviously need non-punitive mental health care on the job to protect our workforce from the psychological distress of the profession.

  51. Ehab Mohammed says:

    Dear Stephanie:
    I feel your story very well and feel how much oppression and injustice you suffer. Instead of supporting you in your tough time, and thanking you that you still doing your medical residency program with all its hurdles ; physical and mental emotional requirements, they simply deny your right to practice medicine and force you to be only patient and not a successful doctor. I am supporting you very much with my heart and mind, hope you the best, recovery , cure and to practice medicine, the career you have chosen and excelled at.

  52. tony says:

    How stupid is this..

  53. Kate Cronin says:

    I am outraged at your treatment. I worked in the healthcare industry for 30 plus years and have never heard of such inhumane treatment to a physician and fellow human being. I worked closely with the Credentials, Medical Executive, and Board Credentials Committees, and we faced many physicians with physical issues. Rules and Regs, and other policies protected their rights. If the physician could continue to perform their duties unimpaired, they were protected by these policies. I’m sure residents have policies and procedures that spell out expectations. As many have mentioned, these so-called employers have violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, and I hope your attorney sticks it to them. I also hope that their reputation is tarnished in the community. They deserve to be hung out to dry. Not only are they denying you your right to work, they are causing you undue harm and stress during a time when you are vulnerable. Shame on them! Best of luck to you and God bless.

  54. A resident says:

    Dr. Wible,
    With all due respect- You have an important platform in the movement to humanize medical care, and very real power. But as they say, with great power comes responsibility- to do some filtering and to highlight cases worthy of attention. Not every resident physician who is fired is undeserving of blame- patients do need to be protected from the incompetent and irresponsible.

    If what Dr. Stephanie says is true, she has a GUARANTEED win under the ADA. Not to mention, as a young, pretty, blond, blue-eyed woman, her damages will be effectively tripled and she has a far higher chance for news media coverage that could wreck the hospital. (This is not me being bigoted, it’s the reality- I say this as a person of color).

    So, this raises the obvious question: are we to believe that the hospital’s lawyers really let the residency program fire this resident for being sick and attending doctor’s appointments? Seriously in this day and age?

    This story stinks. Please ask for some papers, e-mails, anything and verify that this story is actually true. I’ll be happy to eat my words if they are. Otherwise, both you and the movement will be pegged and destroyed as standing up for dangerous doctors who will hurt patients unless they are stopped, and any chance for change will be lost.

    A fellow resident physician

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I’ve spoken to Stephanie and I know her well. She has an attorney and a case. Details not publicly available yet. No worries my friend.

      • Resident says:

        I agree. Every program has a process they must go through and I believe due process was followed. Also there have been other female residents in the program with cancer and chemotherapy who have not been fired so I would imagine some of it is specifically related to the residents lack of competency.

        • Pamela Wible MD says:

          So you are familiar with this residency program? You write as if you are privy to inside information.

        • E. Watts says:

          Mr. Resident. You “believe due process was followed?” Based on what principle? You say, “other female residents in the program…have not been fired…,” which sounds very suspicious to me. Then you talk about your imagination and specifics about the reason why Stephanie was fired – “lack of competency?” Sounds like “inside trading” to me – you trading ethics for integrity. Leave judgment for the judicial system.

    • Another Resident says:

      I agree with A Resident. There doesn’t seem like the causality here: Doctor gets fired for having cancer. The more likely story is: Doctor has cancer, gets effectively treated, continues to take time off without official leave, and gets fired for not showing up to work or showing up to work in poor form. I mean cancer is no joke, this is something that has to be discussed with the department, as in, is it proper to just take a year off from residency and focus on treatment? In some cases it happens and after the right discussion it’s totally possible if that’s what needs to be done.

      It is IMPOSSIBLE to fire residents. Literally impossible. I’ve seen many residency programs try to fire residents over drug and alcohol abuse, misconduct and the like, and it just will never happen since there are so many stop-checks in place such as removing them from a rotation and assisting them in rehabilitation, or giving several warnings.

      I think the proper dialogue is that this is a resident with clear mental health issues that is not being addressed which is honestly the biggest travesty in the whole system. Getting help for people in general for mental health issues is a problem, getting help for residents with mental health issues is a whole other ball-game considering the time commitment it takes to visit physicians and other mental health professionals.

      This pitchfork raising mentality will only cost her institution dearly which I’m sure is trying to provide good resident education. It’s of utmost importance to try to address mental health issues and suicide prevention in young physicians, but this doesn’t need to be the martyrdom that needs to happen for us to get there.

  55. Jenny siepka says:

    I hope that when the doctor who told her “choose whether you will be a dr or a patient” needs to become a pt and receive care, there is someone out there to care for him or her with compassion. Sorry but he/she sounds like a narcissistic jerk.

  56. Jude A. Thomas, D.M.D., J.D., LL.M., M.B.A. says:

    I’m curious — prior to termination was there ever an offer by the institution for a leave of absence, medical leave, etc.? Esentially an opportunity to get better and eventually return to the residency program?

  57. Ruben says:

    I would like to know wich residency program is doing this. This is outrageous.

  58. Mary Gerdt says:

    Early in my nursing career, we were trained to be bulletproof, unfeeling, human beings separate from our patients. Never share your true feelings, never share the closed door non PC jokes, jabs, patient put downs. Like you’re Different, you’re Better. Like God. Omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient. I learned to judiciously reveal small human vulnerabilities. Like a death experience, or down time aka depression. Working with MS Challenged me more. But at least in nursing a warm body is better than nobody. And nurses tend to bring casseroles, cards, fuzzy stuffed animals. But Doctors?? Sorry, they can’t show a depressed one. What if they die/get sicker/take overdose. Who will take call this weekend? I am sorry you lost your job. You don’t want to work for Bastards like that anyway. In time, when you heal from this hatefulness, you’ll see your value as you are, not framed in flaky psychiatrists’ predjudice with malice. Pox upon them???? (kidding!!!)

  59. Glen Whelpley says:

    First do no harm includes ourselves

  60. John says:

    You should speak with an attorney–cancer surely counts as a temporarily disability under the ADA

  61. suzanne says:

    You (and Stephanie) might be interested in this blog, by a psychiatry resident who was also diagnosed with cancer during residency. Fortunately, this resident’s program handled the situation quite well.

  62. Brenda Palmer says:

    This seems like a form of discrimination to me! I hope you can either get your job back or get a better one!

  63. Pamela Wible MD says:

    Per Harvey Schmidlap MD (who posted this comment on the wrong blog so I’m transplanting here): Commentater Charles Krauthammer, MD, a board-certified Psychiatrist, sustained a mid-Cervical Spine fracture during Medical School(Harvard), I don’t when during his Medical School Education this occured. Noner-the-less, or in spite of this, he completed his Psychiatry Residency and passed the Psychiatry Board exam. If Harvard Medical School can do this, certainly your residency program can do the same for you!’Firing’ you from the Psychiatry Residency Program might be classified as “Crazy” by Keith Ablow, a Boston practicing Psychiatrist.

  64. Amna Buttar says:

    Dear Stephanie,
    I am so sorry you are going through this ordeal. Dealing with an illness is horrible, and then have to deal with discrimination from the program! My positive thoughts are with you!

  65. V. Christine says:

    I am a resident, and I have also struggled with increasingly pervasive suicidal thoughts despite years of being told to “just get over it already.” Thankfully, my attendings were supportive – eventually my declining mental health was made apparent during a non-work related incident that was out of my control – and were able to help me get on the path to recovery. I never sought help before the decision was taken out of my hands entirely because I was terrified of being fired. However, in my situation I was even offered a leave of absence with reinstatement on my return, although I declined for personal reasons. Surely, I went through a period of resenting my supervisors for their nearly-suffocating kindness, and I’m still not certain that their aggressive commitment to my well-being – where I had clearly given up – would have been the same had another resident not committed suicide at my institution a few years prior. Regardless, without their help I would not be writing this today, and for that I am genuinely grateful.

    My soul cries for Stephanie – if I had matched elsewhere, I could have very well faced the injustice she experienced. It troubles me that there are so many residents and even attendings that are hypocritically forced to choose between their vocation and their health. I want to stand with Stephanie so that perhaps one day my friends and colleagues will have the unabashed opportunity to receive comprehensive, unprejudiced mental health care!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      So glad that you are still with us. Not worth losing your life to our healing profession. Please stand with us on August 20th either at a vigil or light a candle and stand with us in your house, office, city park. We are truly in this together.

  66. Brian Hudes says:

    The Hospital should answer for their actions. The termination likely violates ADA law and is discriminatory. The residency program should be brought under immediate review by the National accrediting agencies. I am a physician. I stand with you. Find an attorney and sue them, sue them for the suffering they caused. Sue them for the injury to your reputation. Sue them for punitive reasons so that they will never do this again. Publicize your experience. Let the public know they should seek care elsewhere, from an organization that actually cares about people.

  67. derek stocker says:

    Courage & Beauty. What a woman, what a physician and my word such big, gorgeous blue eyes.
    The downtrodden need advocates with the guts to stand up for them.
    I cannot be definitive but it seems that for every doc who put patient safety top, middle and bottom there are half a dozen who just happily accept the paycheck and of course the pharma kickbacks.
    My surgeon who convinced me he was giving me state of the art, top of the range, Johnson & Johnson/De Puy Synthes took kickbacks to recommend those defective hip implants. I along with many others have not simply been crippled living on pain meds, we have also been poisoned by Cobalt & Chromium and live with a now defective immune system and a ticking carcinogenic time bomb.
    So Steph you go my girl. Good luck and good hunting.

  68. Barbara Dickerson says:

    So sad should be beside her not above her. She is doing her job. Shame on them. Hold your head up. God has better plans. Their loss. Good luck on anything you decide to do

  69. Tom says:

    Read her statement carefully. She never said she was fired for having cancer. In fact, she never says why she was fires at all, just that it happened the day after she posted on the website (as a speaker).
    In the end, regardless of her cancer and her fight for better treatment of residents, I’m betting she got terminated for having a second “job” during residency, which is expressly forbidden by many, if not most, residency programs.
    That doesn’t excuse it on moral grounds, but “breach of contract” is pretty strong legal ground for termination.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Her “second job” was keeping herself alive. Which required health care (surgery and additional therapy) which led to her termination of her “first job.”

  70. Kristine Dangremond says:

    This sounds like James Griffith to me. He is the head of the department, and was the program director when I was a resident there. He is 90% evil and 10% senile.

    When I was there one of his buddies was repeatedly demanding that I prescribe buprenorphine illegally, without a X DEA number. This was so he could leave the addictions clinic in my hands, with no supervisor, and spend the day in his private practice. I refused 18 times, documented that and complained to Dr. Griffith. Dr. Griffith refused to do anything. Apparently he had known about this for four years. When I got his buddy fired from the addictions clinic via the method of pointing out to the director of the clinic what the heck was going on, he had that same buddy supervise me on another rotation at another facility. And when I complained about that, Dr.Griffith wrote some really insane things about me and put it in my personnel file. So when I have needed a reference from George Washington University for subsequent jobs, I have been told they tell people I am not a team player! Some team!

    The department is also extremely sexist. Mostly because of James Griffith. He is such a pig.

    I am very sorry, but not at all surprised they did this. I was in a meeting where Dr. Griffith was complaining endlessly about a resident who had to have an appendectomy and going on and on that she took to long to recover. I did not know that resident, she had left the program before I started. George Washington University is pretty toxic, but that department takes the cake.

  71. m curtis says:

    Please oh please hire an employment attorney.

  72. Alyssa Pastorino, DO says:

    I am absolutely stunned that a residency program would do this to you. I am a chief surgery resident at my program and my husband committed suicide last year and I was unable to work for a few months and took time off. Not only do they have to offer you time off (it’s the law), I cannot believe that any physician would tell you you are not fit to work. That is just unacceptable to me. I am fortunate enough to come from a residency program that supports it’s residents in all of their “life” events. I have known several residents who have gone through cancer treatment, death of a spouse, personal loss & NONE of them have been fired. I am so sorry for your personal situation and for the pain you have endured with both cancer treatments as well as your job loss. Keep strong, you will get through this & there will be a residency program that you can find that will support you.

  73. Mary Widdison says:

    I have been a nurse and a cancer patient without being penalized for it. Why would it be different for a doctor? This is unacceptable. Shame on the hospital and the doctors who voted to terminate you.

  74. Christina says:

    Absolutely unbelievable. I, too, was a psychiatry resident when I was diagnosed with cancer last year and my heart breaks for this woman that she did not receive the support from her program that I did…then to go and fire her?!? This is completely unacceptable. Though I do not live near a vigil site, know that I will certainly be sharing this story and absolutely standing with Stephanie. Praying for her recovery as well.

  75. Andrea Stonecipher, M.D? says:

    You would think with the physician shortage looming larger and the amount of time it takes to train physicians, more programs would realize a medical career is a marathon and not a sprint. I am thankful the Chairman of my psychiatry department at Southern Illinois University made accommodations for a chronic health issue during residency. Best wishes to Stephanie!

  76. Anna Hamilton says:

    Disgusting America! Purely disgusting treatment if a doctor!

  77. HinFL says:

    I am not at all surprised by this. How truly sad is that? Resident physicians have almost zero recourse and legal rights. My husband was wrongfully terminated from his residency program, as was another resident in his program. Both sued. Our legal battle lasted the better part of a year and settled for a return to residency and graduation (we added six figures in legal fees to our mountain of debt). The other resident’s suit was dismissed in court even though there were documented discriminatory practices.

    The culture of medical training is brutal. The evidence of systemic abuse and hazing that is swept under the rug and shrugged off is intolerable.

    Thank you to the physicians who are fighting for humanity and compassion in medical training. I fight with you. I stand with you. My hope is that future generations of physicians will be treated humanely with the kindness and empathy that they deserve. Not because they are physicians, but because they are human.

  78. Fabiola Martin says:

    Dear Stephanie,
    This is a second attempt to reach out to you since Monday. My first comment was deleted.
    I am a doctor, scientist and lecturer and live in the UK. I am terribly sorry to hear what you are going through. I send you strength and love and hope you can heal yourself and your cancer.
    I hear you… I wished I could say I don’t believe you… but sadly I can and do. It is shocking that you and many of us have to choose between being a doctor and being a patient. As if the latter is a choice. It is my belief that even being a doctor is not a choice. It is a calling for most if not all of us. The world needs healers and we need to heal.

    It is shocking that none of the doctors & nurses around you recognised your symptoms and took you by the hand and accompanied you to your doctor.

    It angers me that instead of compassion you face adversity and have been fired when you should receive sick-leave pay and support. I would not be surprised if not several of your colleagues at the board had voted for you to stay and be supported but they did not have the power and influence to break through the ranks of our colleagues who have completely stopped hearing their calling to care and give.

    Why do those who want to do good never have enough power to make change? Will the world only be lead by the aggressive ones? Does kindness and gentleness have to hide! Why can YOU not sack those who are non-compassionate and greedy?

    What happens to us during our training and practice? When do we stop seeing the fear and worry of our patients and see only power, money and reputation? Everybody knows that the caring professions have defined occupational hazards: stress, depression, alcohol and drug misuse, obesity and suicide. All of which are risk factors for a miscellaneous other physical and mental illnesses such as cancer. Nothing to be ashamed of, comes with territory and it is the employers duty to protect us and to compensate if need be.

    But we are not allowed to look after ourselves. Medical school does not prepare us and employers do not warn us of the health hazards our employment as doctors and nurses carry and do not promise to support us to actively distress, relax, eat well, sleep enough, socialise and engage in regular daily exercise, so that we do not get sick or commit slow or fast self-harm. Instead they make us hide by introducing guilt and shame WHEN (and not if) we succumb to the occupational hazards mentioned above! This is in my humble opinion open aggression and violence towards the caring profession.

    By the way potentially another huge area of secrecy is the ill treatment of nurses and their self-harm rate!

    Recently in the UK the General Medical Council (GMC) was asked to look into it’s procedures of handling fitness to practice (FTP) referrals of doctors since many doctors died while waiting for the GMC to complete their FTP investigations. The results showed that 28 doctors were known to have killed themselves while waiting to be heard. It was found that doctors thought themselves ‘guilty until proven innocent’. One of GMC’s recommendations is ‘resilience training’ for medical students!!!!

    I am not sure if I should feel outraged or depressed, when I read such official and formal conclusions. What is the right reaction: scream or cry? Or both?! Dr Apple sarcastically points out ‘Many congratulations to the GMC on its innovative approach to the tedious accusations that its procedures are arbitrary, oppressive and slow. It is truly a master-stroke to blame its alleged victims for lack of resilience. It is about time that doctors and medical students realized that their line of work differs from being a front-line soldier only in that they face more threat from their own overseers than from an enemy.’

    Why? Why can we not talk about our health and our need to feel respected and valued?

    I am very proud of you and love

    I also love the term: The Wiblers- I am certainly wiblered!

    We live in the UK so we cannot physically join you and our colleagues on 20 August but my partner and I will be thinking of you and will forward your email to our friends.

    On the practical side I was wondering if you need financial support for your health and lawyers’ costs. We would be very happy to make a donation and maybe others would join us. A Just Giving website could ease this.

    I send you love, courage, respect and loads and loads of healing hugs


  79. Mariana says:

    How short-sighted. It pains me to point out that despite years of medical training and an above-average understanding of the pathophysiologic changes that take place with cancer, the physician who suggested you “choose” whether you are going to be the doctor or the patient didn’t realize that in his/her paradigm if you choose to be the doctor (in denial of the fact that you’re also a patient fighting cancer) 1) some psychiatrists might actually have a name for that – delusional disorder, and 2) it’s not a long-lived or self-sustaining choice – you would not be here today if you hadn’t accepted that you are both so you could get live-saving care and treatment you needed.

  80. Pamela Wible MD says:

    Comment from a colleague abroad:

    Thanks for your website, it is great. I am a family doctor in Australia.It is easy to work too hard and get sick yourself. One of my friends died from effects of depression, ETOH, 2 separate cancers, a stroke,etc. brought about by overwork and not enough self-care, seeing 250pts + per week, a solo Doc in a remote location, with no locum for years. She once caught malaria and dengue fever but kept working, with high fevers. The hospital Matron told the people filling the crowded waiting room, “all those who are sicker than the doctor, can stay! All the rest of you-leave!” – Everyone quietly got up & left, then Matron sent the doctor home to rest for day or two. Rest in Peace, friend.

    An acquaintance, suffering from metastatic breast cancer, bones riddled with metastases, kept working as a family doctor until too physically frail to go on,not far from death. A similar story for the male family doctor with metastases from prostate cancer- & he didn’t even tell his family he had cancer until he was very near death.

    There are many stories of this kind, of doctors who did not suicide, but chose to spend the precious hours and days towards the end of life, working to provide medical care to patients, until their health completely failed.

    With such dedication, I hope their workplaces were supportive, but I am sorry to say that it is not always so. The doctor crying out for a locum, an associate, or an assistant, can go to their grave without anyone even answering their advertisement for years!

  81. John "Hai" Knapp says:

    Despicably sad. Doctors are not immune to illnesses. When my wife got so sick with cancer I had a psychologist I went to because of her experience with cancer, Dr Caryll Palmer Wilson PhD. I see this Dr Stephanie as a very brave woman. She wanted to accomplish a system where nobody is locked out of healthcare because the size of their paycheck. Speaking of psychiatry, and those who think healthcare is a privilege, not a right; Do you want to get hurt or killed by someone having a psychotic episode because the treatments is a privilege not a right???

  82. Dr.Anil Batta says:

    It’s really intriguing to face a situation like this when we serve the humanity to be rewarded with callous consequences.But be sure Dr.Stephanie I on my behalf assure you that being in a stage you are so brave and valiant.I am an Indian doctor,may not be recognized but still in this injustice I am with you.Whatever I can do it is on every medico disposal who has some humanity.

  83. Charlotte Fairchild says:

    I am not surprised that doctors are unsupportive. On 9/11 I had a kaleidescope I shared with many nurses and staff at Emory Parkway Medical Center. A year later, a couple of doctors didn’t have time for talk about 9/11. I knew a nurse who was raped while her husband was deployed. They were both in the Navy. When she went to a hearing of her rape case, her work mates had 5,000 misdemeanors against her. She had been treated for breast cancer and she wasn’t always on time to work as a nurse. The judge told the prosecutor to be reasonable. My friend still spent time in a brig. The rapist didn’t. Are we talking about a male culture?

  84. Rally says:

    This is a bad news and really heart that some one is fired from hospital just for having cancer. If it can happen to a doctor then there is big question mark that then how hospital authorities will treat to common man when he/she is suffering with serious disease.

  85. BABG says:

    I agree…however speaking up has gotten me shunned by administration, reported to the National Data Bank and put unnecessarily under review. Hospitals and administrators can continue to bully doctors because of the Healthcare Quality Act. This allows hospital to “review” doctors and limit their practice without having to prove why? After paying out $100,000 in legal fees and losing over $100,000 in income, I finally came to a point to settle with the hospital. I was bullied into giving up my robotic privileges because the hospital had hired someone else they wanted the cases to go to. My lawyer told me that if a hospital review was a court of law….I would have easily won my case because it was a clear case of bullying but because a hospital review hearing is governed by doctors assigned by the hospital and protected by the Healthcare Quality Act that there was no way to know which way things would go….especially if they have an agenda. My choices….continue to fight for an unknown number of years with high legal fees or give in to whatever they wanted and move on. It kills be to give in but I just couldn’t afford the fight anymore. I know I am not the only one this has happened to. My lawyer tells me about new cases he has every day but because the way the law is written the doctors have no rights. There is a guy right now, who has been fighting for 8 years.

    Sham peer reviews destroy doctors….I am one and there is nothing I can do.

  86. Selver Maric says:

    This shows that traditional kind of doctor don’t want to listen patients becouse they don’t care much about what they say. Not becouse patients don’t know enough about medicine like they says.

    If doctor is patient also, and she try to involve in shared decision making about her health, this is even worse for paternalistic kind of doctor, becouse this patient actually can ask more logic questions then regular patients.

    And they don’t want to be questioned.

  87. Peter H. Proctor, PhD, MD says:

    It is GWU, what do you expect? Not so long ago, on accreditation probation.

    Shaky finances and mainly supported by income from patients. Even a book on this. The quotes from ex-and current GWU people are particularly edifying.

    Basically, departments must support themselves and remit a percentage to the school. So there is pressure to preserve the bottom line by cutting corners, like firing residents with cancer. Such retaliation also frightens the others into staying in line. Slick, if you are fan of such things.

    By report, this is the 4th or 5th psych resident to be fired in the last few years. All female, and most (all?) before their third year, when the department stops making money off them and has to put out some. What are the odds?

  88. Anonymous says:

    I was sexually assaulted in my home by a patient at a large HMO where I worked for 20 years. I had been severely sexually abused as a child and this assault triggered severe PTSD symptoms. Despite my symptoms, I got up every morning, worked 12-14 hour days, had fabulous patient reviews and won numerous awards for my compassion and empathy toward all. One day I received a call on my cellphone while at work and the male voice on the other end told me he was the person that sexually assaulted me–and that he was one of my patients. He started calling regularly, taunting me because I didn’t recognize his voice. My HR department was aware of the assault as well as the reasons for my intense reaction to the experience. Despite this, I was let go for being tearful in my office one day (my door was closed but without knocking the clinic director walked in my office). She reported my “emotional instability” to the Medical Director for “crying while at work and upsetting patients”. I was let go the next week after working my entire career at this company. I tried to return to medicine after receiving treatment, but ultimately ended up retiring n my early 50’s. I hate that we are unable to be human, have sad feelings, anxious feelings. I’m sure there are some “tough” docs out there that may scoff at all the complaints physicians make about the dehumanizing experiences we experience, the extremely long hours, the emotional, physical and familial/friendships we sacrifice, but i don’t care anymore. We need to collectively speak up.

  89. Anonymous says:

    I was sexually assaulted in my home by a patient at a large HMO where I worked for 20 years. I had been severely sexually abused as a child and this assault triggered severe PTSD symptoms. Despite my symptoms, I got up every morning, worked 12-14 hour days, had fabulous patient reviews and won numerous awards for my compassion and empathy toward all. One day I received a call on my cellphone while at work and the male voice on the other end told me he was the person that sexually assaulted me–and that he was one of my patients. He started calling regularly, taunting me because I didn’t recognize his voice. My HR department was aware of the assault as well as the reasons for my intense reaction to the experience. Despite this, I was let go for being tearful in my office one day (my door was closed but without knocking the clinic director walked in my office). She reported my “emotional instability” to the Medical Director for “crying while at work and upsetting patients”. I was let go the next week after working my entire career at this company. I tried to return to medicine after receiving treatment, but ultimately ended up retiring n my early 50’s. I hate that we are unable to be human, have sad feelings, anxious feelings. I’m sure there are some “tough” docs out there that may scoff at all the complaints physicians make about the dehumanizing experiences we experience, the extremely long hours, the emotional, physical and familial/friendships we sacrifice, but i don’t care anymore. We need to collectively speak up.

  90. Rosa Borchert says:

    Dear Pamela, I am not a Doctor but I have been in and out of hospitals with my daughter since April 20th. And I can tell you first hand it’s the whole entire system. Especially here in the state of Florida. Three years ago I accompanied my daughter to NWMemorial for stem cell therapy and her Doctors at Shands considered it vudu science. This past April her Doctors at Shands had her in multiple medications to control her lupus and after she started taking them it has become a complete nightmare. A small infection turned into ARDS, Spetic, deep vein thrombosis and on and on. With the help of the case managers here and NWMEMORIAL I was able to medi vac her to Chicago where competent doctors saved here life.
    And when it came to mental health that was a joke. But, to me the whole system is broken not just for professionals like you but also the patients.
    Wishing you recovery and the very best!

  91. Bernice Peprah says:

    Wow, if Doctors are treating their colleagues so poorly, how can we, the public, trust them? I constantly hear of shortage of Doctors…IS IT ANY SURPRISE? Stephanie, my prayers are with you.

  92. Pamela Wible MD says:

    Story picked up by The Washington Post and became the #5 most read story of the day (8/30/16)

  93. Linda says:

    Wibles wobble but they don’t back down! Keep on truckin!!

  94. Ren says:

    What happened to Stephanie is outrageous but it occurs constantly. I love her for having the strength and the bravery to call these people out. Every single thing you do when you are working for other doctors is monitored and documented in your personnel file. They will pull out every bit of that when you try to fight them. They have the ability to take every single negative comment, no matter how small, to make you look bad. You you are so wise to have drawn national attention to this issue. One mistake can ruin your career if you piss someone off. You have no idea how much you are helping others by fighting this. Get some supportive attending on your side. They will be your saving grace.I took an extended leave of absence from a Big Box clinic after being raped by one of my patients. When I returned I still had PTSD symptoms whenever I went in to see a male patient. One day, shortly after returning to work, I was feeling overwhelmed and got tearful in my office. The clinic director (a nurse) reported me to the boss for “crying in front of patients”. Four weeks later I was terminated for “behavioral problems and complaints from staff”. I worked at that god awful place for 20 years and received “Most Compassionate Doctor” and “People’s Choice” from 2010-2014. I never once had a complaint filed against me by a patient during my entire tenure with this employer. I allowed them to make me feel as though I am a horrible doctor. It has killed my desire to continue in medicine. I want to open an ideal medical clinic but I am depressed, anxious and have PTSD. I don’t have the strength to pursue medicine anymore. I’d rather work for Starbucks.

  95. Dr Moo says:

    Thanks for your website, it is great. I am a family doctor in Australia.It is easy to work too hard and get sick yourself. One of my friends died from effects of depression,ETOH, 2 separate cancers,a stroke, etc., brought about by overwork & not enough self-care,seeing > 250 pts/week,a solo Doc in a remote location,with no locum for years. She once caught malaria & dengue, but kept working with high fevers.
    The hospital Matron told the patients who were filling the waiting room,”All those sicker than the doctor -can stay! the rest of you -leave!”
    Everyone quietly got up and left, & Matron sent the Dr home to rest for a day or two.
    Rest in peace, friend.
    An acquaintance, suffering from metastatic breast cancer,bones riddles with metastases, kept working as a family doctor until too physically frail to go on, not far from death.
    A similar story for the male family doctor with metastatic prostate cancer, he didn’t even tell his family he had cancer until he was very near death.
    There are many stories of this kind,of doctors who did not suicide, but chose to spend the precious hours and days towards the end of life, working to provide medical care to patients, until their health completely failed.
    With such dedication, I hope their workplaces were supportive, but I am sorry to say that it is not always so. The doctor crying out for a locum, an associate, or an assistant,can go to their grave without anyone even answering their advertisement for years!

  96. dr. j says:

    Thanks for publicizing the stories. I went through a terrible experience at residency and I think what you are doing is extremely valuable.

    I do wish there was less ‘appeal to emotion’ and more fairness in the way you frame this woman’s story. The details of Stephanie’s dismissal are incompletely reported, but she certainly wasn’t dropped because she had malignant cells in her body.

    She may have been dropped for reasons related to the cancer (missing work, showing emotional strain that interfered with her judgment, being physically unable to do the job), or not. These reasons may have been true and defensible, or not. But she was not ‘fired because she had cancer.’ That’s misleading.

    Her own statement is also riddled with the same over-the-top emotionalism that sweeps accuracy aside. This is certainly understandable, given all the physical and mental strain she’s been under, and given her sense (right or wrong) of being the persecuted victim. I just don’t think she helps her case by making statements like, “I have the right to seek life-saving medical treatment!” No one is denying her that right – least of all her residency program.

    I would certainly hope that her program would bend over backwards to be flexible for a person in her daunting and frightening situation. If they failed to make a decent effort on her behalf, they’re jerks – and if they broke employment law they should be sued and they should be punished. That doesn’t change my objection to the somewhat false and manipulative yank-on-the-heartstrings portrayal that’s being put forward by her and by you.

  97. Dave says:

    This is an old post but I decided to look up the status of the lawsuit and it appears to be ongoing. The depositions from Dr. Waggel’s program director and reviews by outside experts are incredibly damning and tell a far different story than the one being told here.

    Dr. Wible, I respect much of your work and your zeal for physician wellness, but this looks far more like a resident with severe well-documented problems long before her diagnosis. Even attendings from different departments were writing to her PD about her performance, with one internal medicine team essentially expelling her from the team out of overwhelming concerns for patient safety (months before her illness). I’m reading her PD’s deposition and the countless copies of emails and text threads showing a faculty bending over backward to help a troubled resident. I thought my own program was incredibly nice, but things she pulled would have gotten me fired a long time ago!

    There are some significant problems out there in med-ed, but we need to do a better job of getting the whole story before we jump to conclusions.

  98. Laurel Bertini says:

    I had a similar experience while trying to work and being treated for leukemia at the same time. Wild story. There doesn’t seem to be much compassion for coworkers who are sick, in the medical field. I tried so hard for years, finally ending up in the hospital myself. Now, I sew. If I don’t feel well, I can lay down.

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