How my patients prevented my suicide (& started a medical revolution)

Today is the anniversary of my suicide survival story—a happy ending to six weeks of unrelenting thoughts of dying when forced to see patients every ten minutes in big-box assembly-line clinics. My lifelong dream of being a trusted, loving family doc doing housecalls was gone. I saw no way out.

Until I told my patients I was suicidal.

I begged for their help. I asked them to create an ideal clinic, even write my job description. I promised to do whatever they wanted. My life sucked. I had nothing to lose. I figured we could all escape corporate medicine together. They were game.

Soon more than 100 patients delivered written testimony. I was SO excited to read it all. We adopted 90% of their amazing ideas and just one month later (with no outside funding) we opened the first ideal clinic—designed entirely by patients. Today is our 14-year anniversary of the most beautiful gift a community could ever give me—the ability to be a real doctor.

Now I do housecalls. I absolutely adore my patients. And I’ve never turned anyone away for lack of money.

Read all about how we did it here.

My patients have not only helped me, they’ve inspired hundreds of doctors to replicate our community clinic around the world. Check out the 2-minute TV clip above (& transcript below):

Pamela Wible says her parents—both physicians—advised her not to follow in their footsteps. She ignored them. But being a doctor was not what she expected. I remember one day seeing 45 patients. After six jobs in ten years, all of them in her words—assembly-line medicine—she ended up in bed seriously depressed. She had an idea—a vision of how she could save other doctors and her career. She decided to host a series of town hall meetings to let patients design her practice. Wible listened and took more than 100 pages of testimony.

Now there’s no receptionist at Dr. Wible’s office, no billing department, not even a nurse.

What do you want when you’re sick? You don’t want to park in a three-story parking garage, and you don’t want to sit in a cafeteria-style waiting room, and you don’t want to talk through bullet-proof glass when you’re sick, and you don’t want to be asked for your credit card and your insurance card and all the things that people are hassled to do when they are not feeling well.

Her overhead expenses have gone from close to 80% to 10% and that means she can afford to spend as much as an hour per visit—making her a better doctor and bringing the joy back into her job.

Wible performs minor surgery at her office and gives patients balloons and other gifts for coming in. And she sometimes barters with her patients for medical care.

“So your practice is so unique that you are exchanging this meal for surgery?”

“This meal and other meals,” Dr. Wible explains.

Wible’s ideas are starting to gain traction.

“I recently opened a clinic called Happy Doc Family Medicine. I wanted to show you around,” says Laura Knudsen, MD.

Dr. Wible is saying she can spend an hour with a patient? How many practices can do that?

She says that is what makes her happy and that’s what makes the patient happy. She says the actually can work. She’s making more money now that she was before and she is doing less work. She saves money by not having any staff. She does her billing using an online system. She says her start-up cost [for her first full year] were only about $3000 to buy the furniture and the equipment.

Meet some of the coolest doctors who have just launched ideal clinics today!

Corina Fratila MD, my favorite integrative endocrinologist in Baltimore!

Tedi Zeng, L.AC, MSOM, MBBS—fabulous doctor from China now with the most amazing acupuncture clinic in New Jersey!

Lisa Goldman, MD, offers personalized psychiatric care for the whole human in Arizona (and Tennessee)! And she specializes in helping medical students and physicians—even does housecalls!!

Want to launch your ideal clinic? You can start up for just a few hundred dollars! Here are instructions on how I launched on day one with only $627. If you want step-by-step help on how to launch your dream clinic, contact me here. You can do it!!

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7 comments on “How my patients prevented my suicide (& started a medical revolution)
  1. Sarah Smith says:

    This is what I shared with my FB friends when sharing this piece: “I’m proud to say this doctor is one of my soap customers! I tried to be one of her ‘customers’ but her private medical practice was full at the time. I traded for her book and I got on some kind of waiting list in the hopes that one of her current patients will move to a different state or drop out but I think I forgot to check in. Suffice it to say that I still procrastinate going to the doc when I have a legitimate reason because of, well, the way I get treated! Now she divides her time between lecturing on the pitfalls of McMedicine and what it is doing to the mental health of the very doctors who are supposed to be caring for us. Good stuff. I highly recommend her blog! She even lets me weigh in on blogs that are predominantly shared/read by physicians. How cool is that for those of us who felt like our voices didn’t count once we entered that blank white and stainless steal treatment room?

  2. Lori Andrews says:

    Dr. Wible,
    I applaud you on your journey and success in this new way of treating patients. I would love to find a Doctor like you and those who have followed in your footsteps. I have MS suffer from 10+ autoimmune diseases due to losing my spleen as a child in a playground accident. I never dreamed I would be in this shape and most of the time don’t go to the doctor when I need to until I’m in such bad shape. I just finished 14 daily office visits because I had double pneumonia to receive IV antibiotics and fluids for dehydration. I suffer from severe depression, PTSD and anxiety, severe pain and debilitating fatigue. I wish you had an online clinic for patients like me. I’m praying for your continued healing and blessings in your wonderful care for your patients.
    Lori A Perry Andrews

  3. Jim says:

    Your interview here is very good. It’s a good representation of who you are and what your is all about. People just need to watch this if they don’t have time to browse your entire website.

    You look authentic, professional, passionate, and with a sense of purpose. Somebody that deserves respect and attention.

  4. Gregory Burzynski says:

    Hi Pamela, you are a brave woman. What you experience before is your past that worth to remember and learned from it. Even Doctors has something to figure also in terms of their overall health. A healthy Doctors is a good example for any Patients who are sick. As a return, you are more connected with your community and living now with your real purpose. I salute you Mam…

  5. Juliana López says:

    Dra Wible.
    Soy colombiana. La medicina aquí es diferente. Mi depresión inició desde los primeros años de estudio, no la trate. Debía trabajar el doble para pasar los cursos. Me gradué y me fui a un sitio muy lejano para hacer mi pasantia, lo primero que afrontas es que aquí los pacientes agreden a los medicos, sin contar que aquí también nos miden por la cantidad de recursos gastados y generados. Mi depresión aumentó, seguí en silencio. Mi único deseo era poder hacer una especialización, así que seguí trabajando y estudiando para los éxamenes de ingreso a residencia. Mi esposo, compañero mio desde la universidad lo logró. Ingreso a residencia en psiquiatria. Nuevamente, hicimos maletas y nos fuimos lejos de las familias. Mientras el esrudiaba yo trabajaba, hacía mas de 200 horas al mes. Aveces 240. Mientras el estudiaba psiquiatria yo estaba sentada junto a él pensando en como suicidarme. Mi depresión se agudizó aun mas. No dormía, No comía,me dolía el cuerpo. Me fatigaba caminando en mi pequeño apartamento, no tenía con quien hablar porque mi esposo nunca estaba en casa y yo siempre estaba en el trabajo, pasabamos hasta 3 días sin vernos aun viviendo en la misma casa. Empecé a tomar antidepresivos e hipnóticos por indicacion de mi esposo. Experimenté los efectos secundarios de cada uno, poco toleraba los medicamentos. Finalemnte unido a un problema personal me hundí. No podía levantarme de mi cama. Solo lloraba. Llamé a mi jefe a decirle que no podía ir al trabajo, me dijo que sin una certificación médica no me podía ausentar. Una amiga me ayudo a llegar a un servicio urgencias, me incapacitaron 5 dias. Volví al ruedo. Sintiendome igual. Luego emepce a tener crisis de ansiedad en el trabajo. Yo consultaba de manera informal al psiquiatra que trabajaba en mi servicio. El me decia que era increible. Que tuvuera una depresión severa y siguiera siendo la mejor medica del servicio, tanto que mis colegas me confiaban sus familias para ser atendidos, incluso el mismo psiquiatra. Un día, llegue al trabajo, un compañero mío, especialista estaba como paciente, mis compañeros poco entendían que habia que hacer frente a una hipoglicemia de novo, yo llegue y enseguida cmabie las ordenes, el me pidio hablar.a solas conmigo, era un intento de suicidio, tomo hipoglicemiantes y se inyectó insulina. Yo debía guardar mi secrero profesional. Pude enviarlo a una unidad de cuidado intensivo. Sobrevivió. Después de eso, me sentí peor, más afectada. Se acrrcaban mis vacaciones. Tenía boletos para ir a un lugar increible, yo solo pensaba en llegar ahí para lanzarme por el abismo. Días antes de salir a vacaciones me incapacitaron nuevamente, me dijeron que debía estar en un hospital psiquiatrico, lo evadí convenciendo a los pisquiatras que ya conocía que me sentiría peor en un lugar así. Renuncié. He estado dando tumbos laboralmente. Hace año y medio regrese a mi ciudad natal. Para estar cerca de mi familia y tener mas apoyo. Mi esposo es un excelente psiquiatra perp no puede tratarme. Sigo tomando medicamentos, sigo intentando algún día ingresar a la especialización pero cada día es más dificil y me hago mayor, no consigo trabajo, hay dias que siento que nuevamente voy a tocar fondo. Tengo miedo.

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