Iatrogenic pain—how to heal from a physician-caused illness

One reason physicians were in tears during the 7 hours of support groups I led on my birthday yesterday is they were BELIEVED and received compassion from the peers—for the first time. Sadly, physicians have a bad habit (I’ve witnessed since med school and a gazillion times since) of shunning and even antagonizing human beings at their greatest time of need when they are most vulnerable—especially if that person (in the doctor’s mind) is “not supposed to be” vulnerable and in pain.

Physicians are “supposed” to be in starched white coats, smiling, and ready to serve, not suicidal and on the hospital rooftop. Patients are “supposed” to be happy that their doctor treated them, not having rare, debilitating adverse reactions or outcomes. When a person is suffering (no matter the cause), whether from death of a loved one, poor surgical outcome, adverse reaction to meds/injection, or any other ailment (especially iatrogenic disease = illness caused by a doctor or med system) they should have immediate SUPPORT, never be shunned by the very doctors who are supposed to care.

Med students and physicians have been so brutalized by their training, compassion loss, and groupthink that they can’t seem to generate empathy (for example) for a patient injured by gadolinium injected into their body for MRI contrast. Why? because the patient is “supposed” to be thankful for the MRI and the doctor and is” supposed” to just sign the consent while being rushed into the MRI for their non-urgent exam while being told the IV contrast is harmless and will be excreted by their body within 24-48 hours SO . . . if they have a rare reaction with debilitating fatigue, brain fog (gadolinium is a rare-earth metal that can deposit in brain/other organs) burning sensation on skin, bone pain, headache, vision/hearing changes, skin thickening/ discoloration, they are shunned by their disbelieving doctors (who have never heard of this rare reaction, not part of mainstream medical narrative on gadolinium). Then the greatest assault of all—the vulnerable person in pain is blamed—told it is “all in their head” and they are shuffled off to psychiatry for “anxiety” rather than their doctor being willing to embrace the fact that they were injured by us.

I celebrated my birthday by helping physicians who have been injured by other physicians and by the medical profession (including their trusted mentors) get the help and compassion they need. Doing it again next Sunday. Rather lead support groups that read doctor suicide obituaries of those who died from loneliness and isolation while in pain.

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8 comments on “Iatrogenic pain—how to heal from a physician-caused illness
  1. Barb says:

    Dr. Wible,
    I haven’t been in contact for awhile, but someone shared this very powerful piece in a group for people with iatrogenic injuries, disabilities, and deaths of loved ones.

    For quite a while, I’ve pondered how patients and physicians can work together for the best outcome of iatrogenic injuries that are often chronic, permanently disabling, and extremely life changing. Injured patients often blame the physician for not offering full informed consent, then denying or gaslighting when adverse events occur. Also, as you said, being punted to psych or, BACK to a psych when the drug initially used caused suicidality, anxiety, neuro issues including very painful neuromuscular movement disorders and akathisia, worsened mood, GI issues, anger and rage, apathy, cognitive impairment, difficulty tapering off of a drug due to different and more severe issues than before taking the drug. This happens when psych drugs are used for conditions other than psych, which confirms that it is not a worsening of a psych condition, but caused by the drug.

    How can this disastrous situation be remedied? How can doctors and patients work together when both feel attacked or disbelieved?

    I worked in pharma and understand the “program” and now have a grasp on how much corruption is involved in clinical trials. I know a few doctors and patients that have used FOIA to access studies and trial data that was hidden.

    I’m also married to a retired MD, so I have a somewhat unique view of the situation, but no solutions.

    It seems like both parties need help navigating these situations, but as long as pharma companies and many physician researchers deny or downplay the problems as *rare*, it’s all getting much worse.

    Your post is sincerely appreciated.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I would absolutely love to hear some of your ideas on how to rectify this. With mandates and assembly-line medicine, we’ve lost the healing power of our profession and have become pharmaceutical vending machines. The #1 thing we need is EMPATHY and VALIDATION that we have been harmed and that the person that has been involved in facilitating that harm (through Rx or procedure) make it clear that s/he understands what has happened and will work to prevent future harm. By censoring conversations about adverse reactions to gadolinium and vaccines and other medical interventions, we are creating more pain and trauma and have violated the Oath we’ve taken to do no harm SO . . . #1 we need a space to communicate as HUMAN BEINGS (essentially what I am doing now with 4 support groups every Sunday to help healers heal from trauma by first recognizing how they have been traumatized and now pass that on to their patients. Please read this free ebook (quick 20-min read) I wrote and then email me via my contact page as I would LOVE to speak with you.

      FREE BOOK — Physician Betrayal: How Our Heroes Become Villains

  2. RxPilld says:

    I read several of your books and I appreciate your blog posts. I recently saw a blog post you made that was posted in a Facebook group about how patients often aren’t provided with informed consent by their doctors.

    As someone who has been irreversibly harmed by doctors since I was a young adult, and then gaslit, mistreated, and told I was “crazy” by almost every physician I encountered – that the reaction to meds I had was impossible, and that the serious permanent effects I experienced must be imagined – I am having a very hard time finding any sympathy for doctors.

    The mistreatment I have endured from physicians over the past decade of being chronically ill as a result of the medical treatments they gave me (and failed to inform me about the risks) was literally from hell. Although I was a premed student with a 3.9 GPA and an impressive resume of research experience, no doctor believed me when I told them the gardasil vaccination (which nearly killed my cousin) and medications I was given made me severely chronically ill. I was treated as if I was a deranged lunatic seeking attention. I was shuffled into psychiatric treatment because they thought I was crazy, even though my adverse effects are indeed very real and devastating.

    It doesn’t help that my parents are in the medical field too and they also didn’t believe me either. I was kicked out of the house, threatened, and generally mistreated by my father, who is also a doctor. I guess he thought that treating me this way would “snap me out of it” (“it” being the adverse drug and vaccine reactions, which he thought were my own psychotic delusions).

    Now, almost a decade later, my parents believe me about my injuries but it’s been an absolute nightmare in the meantime. And I’ve been abused by not only my own father but almost every doctor I’ve seen more than I could possibly imagine. I have serious health problems which cause agonizing daily pain and make me nearly bedridden, and to go through your entire 20’s being crippled with illness while your own father and almost every doctor you encounter treats you as less than human is a nightmare I can’t even begin to describe.

    My parents believe me now because of my mother’s serious reaction to her Covid vaccine – she got a serious autoimmune disease from it and now is chronically ill, too. And my grandmother died after her vaccine. I have been telling them that gardasil (and the other pharmaceuticals which I was given in the aftermath) injured me for years now, but they refused to believe it and preferred to label me as insane.

    My plans were to go to medical school – I had a competitive application from a prestigious university, and I would have made a great doctor, too. But ironically, medicine destroyed my life, my health, and my chances of ever becoming a doctor. And medicine also destroyed my soul and crushed me, because it ruined my family. Doctors (and their arrogance) are the reason I’ve been chronically sick, in pain, bedridden, and treated less than human for so many years.

    Considering the absolute TORTURE I have endured at the hands of this profession, I find it VERY hard to muster up much compassion to the topic of physician suicide. Doctors never provided a single ounce of compassion for me or my suffering when I became sick because of their harmful treatments. Not even my own father could show me the love and compassion one would normally expect a normal dad to show to his injured child.

    It had me wondering – what the f*** is wrong with these people?!? Are they all heartless psychopaths? Did medical school destroy their humanity? Did they once have compassion, which was trained/drilled out of them? Does the field of medicine specifically select for narcissists who do not care about hurting innocent people?

    My experience hasn’t been unique; just about every patient with a chronic illness I talk to has grown to develop a similar distain for the way doctors have harmed, mocked, gaslit, degraded, and ultimately dumped them. Iatrogenesis is SO common that I have multiple friends and family members who have gone through this too. We, the patients, are being tortured, abused, and slaughtered by the people we trusted most – doctors.

    I am not sure if I’ll ever be able to forgive this profession for its heinous crimes against humanity. I am also not sure if I will be able to find much sympathy for the fact that doctors commit suicide, when what they do to us patients is simply inhumane and barbaric. From a patient’s perspective, it feels like OUR side is the only side truly wounded and bleeding. Perhaps, on some level, doctors have a deeply buried conscience which recognizes that they are participating in a horrifically abusive system, and their souls simply can’t take it anymore.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I am horrified by what you have been through and I understand the feeling of not wanting to forgive those who harmed you (who had takemn an oath to help you). I know it feels like the patients are the ones who suffer most; however, I would really love for you to see the Do No Harm film ad write me back. I would so appreciate your feelings about the heinous and hazardous working conditions and rampant human rights violations within medicine that harm us all. Believe me when I say most of the docs I know came in with the best of intentions and were slaughtered emotionally. Please see the free ebook I mentioned in another comment: Physician Betrayal: How Our Heroes Become Villains. I think you will like it. Just a 20-min read. Free download on my website.

      • Rxpilld says:

        I saw the ad for Do No Harm but I can’t afford the renting fee the are asking. It’s too bad this film isn’t offered somewhere for free. I will read the free ebook that you suggested.

        I know that many doctors are miserable in their professions but I don’t think that misery can compare to the literal torture that I’ve been through. I became partially paralyzed for several weeks and was treated like a mental patient. I cannot even begin to describe how bad the abuse I’ve endured is, honestly what I’ve been through makes medical school like like a joke (I say this knowing many people who went through medical school, including several family members and my partner – still, what I have endured is far more traumatic and worse).

        I hope I can understand it better one day. This profession is literally still in the dark ages.

  3. Lois Barnett says:

    I have been existing with iatrogenic physical, mental and emotional disability for 18 years. The most recent iatrogenic injury was in December, 2023.

    In the context of your stated view, please consider one critical distinction between the trauma doctor’s experience and the trauma patience experience.

    Medical students and doctors chose, and make the choices, to continue or discontinue down such a traumatic path; at every step of the way they are in control of whether or not they allow themselves to be injured.

    In order for patients to receive medical “care”, they must trust their doctor to do no harm. In giving their doctor that trust (ie to have a surgery their doctor says is necessary in order to save their life), the patient relinquishes all control – they put their life in the hands of their doctor.

    Patients are vulnerable, and therefore can be traumatized in a way that is unshared by the med students/doctors who OPT to relinquish their integrity to big pharma.

    In the ’70s and ’80s I watched doctors greedily stand by and do nothing while big pharma and corporate “insurance” turned them into puppets. They had a choice then. They have the same choice now. Stop being victims, stop making the choice to allow money to rule your hearts. Physicians HEAL THYSELVES – say no to the corruption, reclaim your integrity, and you will suffer no more. YOU HAVE CHOICE

    And please, stop comparing your trauma to that of those who have been traumatized by your poor discernment. It’s as creepy as asking a victim to feel sorry for their abuser.

    Thank you for reconsideration of your stated view. Use whatever clear discernment you have left to clean house and restore “care” to our country’s medical system. “Functional Medicine” is the way out of this mess.

    Being disabled, or not, is still a choice for you. For me, it is not.

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