NYC doctor suicides linked to bullying?

Pamela Wible: I am consulting with Sydney Ashland about the recent suicides in New York City. There were two at NYU within five days of each other—a medical student and a psychiatry resident. Today I received this email:

“Dear Dr. Wible, two residents have killed themselves within a single month at NYU Langone. One of them hanged herself in my finance’s building. The building’s windows were jammed to not open more than a couple of inches after another resident jumped to her death two years ago. I guess they thought this and offering student counseling services would stop residents from killing themselves. A part of me wants to apologize for the last sentence and ward off my cynicism, but I won’t because, as you said, we need to shine a light on medicine’s dirty little secret before it’s too late. There are posters offering counseling services and heartfelt emails being sent to the students, but here’s one thing no one in power to help is mentioning—the supervisors and their bullying.”

[I’ve received several letters like this indicating bullying may have played a role in these suicides]. What do you think about that Sydney?

Sydney Ashland: Well I think that this is a malignant problem that is an actual disease process that is mirroring and mimicking what we see in a malignant cancer process where there are malignant cells that take over this host system or body and begin to really wreak havoc with the entire system.

Pamela Wible: That’s a fascinating way of looking at it. So you have these sort of cancer cells on the loose in power positions in some of these institutions especially I’ve heard quite a bit from people at these New York hospitals, a number of them that there are bullies on the loose and that these people have played a role in many of these suicides (I’ve now got 949 on my registry). Just to recap just some recent clusters, there were the two at NYU that I’ve just mentioned within five days that were this month and then three from Mt. Sinai. A resident, an attending, and a medical student all jumped from one building within two years. I’d also like your thoughts on what’s going here. What kind of toxic educational environment would lead to so many suicides at certain institutions while others like don’t seem to have this problem? Do you think it’s just the bullying or do you think it’s a combination of factors?

Sydney Ashland: Well certainly it’s a combination of factors, but I think that it’s obvious that the stress becomes so great that people cannot abide that level of stress anymore. It’s like asking the question “When a building is burning, why do some people jump out of the windows and in other situations people remain in the building?” I think it is due to the fact that those that remain in the building have an either distorted or limited sense of the danger whereas those who jump and take the leap actually realize that their very existence is at stake.

Pamela Wible: I just want to say I absolutely loved my residency at the University of Arizona Department of Family Medicine where I trained in Tucson. It’s foreign to me actually to hear all these horrific working conditions. This was not my experience. I do think there are some locations in this country that have particularly horrific working conditions for residents, and New York City seems to be one of those places.

I want to share with you a letter that I got after Deelshad Joomun died earlier this year. As you know I led her eulogy, and she was the third woman that stepped off the roof at Mt. Sinai’s 515 W 59th Street building that houses hundreds of residents. This is an email that I actually got within an hour or so after she died:

“I’m a physician. I have a career ahead of me which I’m too scared to speak out against. I came home again to another suicide, another doctor dead from Mt. Sinai in New York. I think New York is a horrible place to work. Conditions are deplorable for doctors, and you should investigate. Both suicides were horrible. Jumped from our high rise. I’m convinced it’s the exhaustion, the demands to perform at 100% 24/7 to meet ridiculous administrative and financial demands. We need to change healthcare. In New York, doctors are blamed for everything the nurses, techs, janitors, and staff don’t do. We have to do every job and document and be nice 100% of the time. Everyone is protected by unions except doctors. We’re criticized and destroyed with unbelievable debt. I don’t know how anyone is willing to go into this field. I love what I do, but I have grown to hate this system. I have lived in a culture of shame for too long. Would you please expose these Manhattan hospitals? They lack compassion. They are all obsessed with finances, prestige, and scores. This suicide today was horrific. I came into my building a crime scene. Don’t let another doctor’s life go unspoken for. They will likely say she was troubled, but why was she troubled? Because she wasn’t efficient enough? Sad and overworked? Our hospital will make it again about her like the girl that died last year. She was too sad.”

There’s a lot of victim blaming and I do feel like there is something going on with certain hospital systems that sort of set them apart with these clusters. What is your sense about New York City hospitals versus, say, Tucson, Arizona and other locations?

Sydney Ashland: Well I think we’re looking at a region where the population is very dense. Stress factors are increased where there are high populations, where cost of living is high, where the external stressors are high. Then within the system, you have outdated, outmoded, dysfunctional, and toxic ways of treating each other especially in the hierarchy of administration and power. The people that are most victimized by this are the people that are experiencing tremendous amount of pressure in their environment whether that’s their personal environment as well as their professional environment. But the personal environment obviously is not enough in and of itself to create a suicidal scenario.

In those cases, someone who’s having troubles in their relationship, with finances, feels like they’re in too densely populated a region goes for therapy, finds solutions to their problems. But when you’re going to a workplace where your very existence is dependent upon someone who has power over you deciding what you can and cannot do, deciding whether you get to stay in this country, deciding whether you get to stay in your residency program or whether you’re going to be discharged at the eleventh hour for some bogus cause, this creates so much anxiety, so much desperation within these individuals that they feel blinded to the fact that they have any choice at all. Those administrators fuel that belief system. I just am horrified.

Pamela Wible: When thinking about New York because I’ve been there now three times in the last month or two, it seems to me the high cost of living, the lower reimbursement rates given the high cost of living which really hurts in a place like that, and the high pressure sort of backstabbing climb-the-ladder atmosphere at these old guard brand-name schools, right? That on top of the population density with high needs Medicare and Medicaid patients who are more likely to sue patients in that region than Oregon and other very sweet locations in the country where the malpractice situation is not nearly as volatile, I just think people seem to be on edge. They’re literally just sort of climbing all over each other without any regard to crushing and killing people inferior to them in these hierarchies.

Sydney Ashland: Well think about the Industrial Revolution and the fact that there were very large factory systems in these big cities where child labor was prevalent. They had to do a lot of work to change those systems. When you look at child labor in some of the more agricultural regions, less densely populated within the United States, certainly children were used in agriculture and environments and on their farms, but they didn’t experience the atrocious human rights violations, abuses that were experienced in those factories. I think there’s a parallel here in terms of medicine will be called up short. Medicine will absolutely experience the demand of those patients and students and residents and physicians who no longer will tolerate these abuses. Change will need to happen. However just like the Industrial Revolution and child labor laws, it takes time and it takes a united and consistent effort from the masses to really call it out and say it’s wrong.

Pamela Wible: So what would you suggest now for, say, the two people that emailed me recently asking for help, begging for help really. I mean my sense is that we’re never going to solve a problem unless we say it out loud. We absolutely have to start talking about suicide like we do high blood pressure, diabetes, or anything else. In order to create the right treatment plan, we actually have to investigate the circumstances that led to the suicides. We actually do need to claim that bullying, power-tripping, gaslighting, whatever it is played a role in these deaths.

That would be sort of my call to action. The people that were there that knew these individuals take this investigation on on your own. Try to figure out what it was, read the suicide notes if you have access to them, identify what’s really going on because we’re not going to get anywhere unless we investigate this. Literally bolting windows shut and putting chain link fences on the roof is just another way to keep people locked down in what I consider modern-day medical sweatshops that are going on in these first-world cities. It’s deplorable. My big call to action is let’s just tell the truth. The truth is what’s going to lead to an answer. What would you say to these people?

Medical Sweatshop

Sydney Ashland: Well I would say that this kind of malignancy only can continue to grow where it isn’t seen and where it isn’t acknowledged. In order to really make a difference, you have to start telling the truth like you said. Refusing to maintain anyone else’s secrets in the system. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a secretary or you work in the autoclave department or you are a wife or husband of somebody who is experiencing this level of pressure and stress and intimidation. It really needs to start with people speaking the truth and joining others in speaking the truth. Truth in isolation just leads to hopelessness. It has to be truth in collaboration in relationship.

Pamela Wible: Wonderful. So telling the truth, basically uniting with your peers so that you’re not in isolation.

Sydney Ashland: Yes. Creating some sort of collaboration and relational situations so that you are in power to do so. What systems do is divide and conquer. They keep people in isolation. They don’t allow people to talk to each other, to commiserate with each other, to problem solve together. Instead these people are told what the new policies are. They’re expected to abide by these policies and not say anything or to complain because those who complain or say something are targeted. You have to start reaching out to each other. Reach out to people that feel safe. Begin to build your confidence, and begin to get other people to buy in to the very real threat that is present so that you can create a plan of action and a call of action. Plan of action, call to action. Those are the two elements that absolutely have to be in place.

Pamela Wible: I feel like what leads to a lot of these suicides is just that terrible sense of hopelessness and isolation. So if we know that we’re not alone, if you can reach out to other people. This is the classic way that power structures maintain their power over people, with divide-and-conquer tactics. This is an age old technique here. It’s nothing new, but I think what would really help is I’m going to give two examples of something that I did in medical school and what I heard that another gentleman did in medical school. I actually started a petition during my medical training and had my class sign the petition along with me. This was in response to standing up against the dog labs, and I prevailed. I was let out of the dog labs. There’s power in numbers. When it’s more than just one person on a petition, when you can get 20, 30, 40 people in your class, it looks like bad PR if they fire that many people at once. I mean you have power when you’re with one another.

Another example I think you might remember a blog that I wrote long ago from a pediatrician. This was maybe 30, 40 years ago they had a professor that was bullying their class, and they decided that the next time that he did that they would all stand up en masse and walk out. That’s what they did, and they walked straight to the dean’s office. Guess what? They never saw that professor again. That’s a good way to get rid of the cancer, wouldn’t you say?

Sydney Ashland: Exactly. Cut it out. It’s not just about sort of throwing up your hands and saying “Oh, no. There’s a malignancy and nothing to be done.” There’s always something to be done. Cancer is merely a disruption in the growth of normal cells that become abnormal over time. If we look at these people who are fueling these toxic work environments, who are bullying and intimidating others, what they most need is to be taken out of the situation not only for those they serve but for themselves because it is something that will create disease and disruption in themselves as well. It needs to stop.

Pamela Wible: What’s really interesting is this is the actual term that medical students and residents will use to describe their program directors and superiors. They will call them malignant. So it is very interesting that you used the cancer metaphor because there are malignancies in some New York hospital system programs and other residency programs around the country, and these malignant people need to be removed because there’s only really a few bad eggs. Everyone else wants to do a good job and wants to be healers. That’s why we’re there for healthcare. I would encourage anyone listening to this to take a stand, to identify who those malignant people are. Who are the malignant cells in your organization? Call them out in unison as a group and remove them so that you do not lose anymore classmates, any more brilliant healers who are our brothers and sisters in medicine.

Sydney Ashland: Agreed, agreed, agreed. Hear, hear. Thank you, Pamela.

Pamela Wible: Awesome. Get back to us if we can help. We’re here.

Dr. Wible is author of  Physician Suicide Letters—Answered available as a free audiobook below.


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Dr. Pamela Wible and Sydney Ashland lead retreats for depressed and suicidal med students and doctors where they also help physicians launch ideal medical clinics. Join the next retreat (scholarships available for med students/residents). Can’t make the retreat? Join the seminar or fast-track course.

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49 comments on “NYC doctor suicides linked to bullying?
  1. Bullied Resident says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for turning the spot light on to this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I can’t believe you used the cancer metaphor and that you both touched on the power of saying the truth in unity! That’s exactly what I have said! These folks are only tyrants to, and can only victimize and prey on isolated kids who are convinced they are helpless, when they are not at ALL. They don’t know the truth always wins! The podcast was like a balm to my heart; I know hearing it AND seeing light is being shined on this, will help others too. So many residents are convinced no one cares and suspects every one with their paranoia of ever doing anything “wrong.” Words could never tell you how grateful I am for your time and attention to this catastrophe. I pray no more students die here (I am in NYC).

  2. Craig says:

    > “Dear Dr. Wible, two residents have killed themselves within a single month at NYU Langone.

    Just for clarification: is it actually two residents, or is the writer referring to the psych resident and the medical student? In the former case it would suggest there was a third suicide that we don’t know about.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Writer is referring to the MS4 and the psych resident. Part of the problem with lack of media coverage (and very poor coverage) is that the medical student has been identified as a “fourth-year radiology student” and so that further obscures level of training.

  3. Amanda says:

    Thank you for starting/continuing the conversation. Too often these things are swept under the rug and no accountability is accepted by the institutions-quite ironic in a field founded on being accountable and honest (supposedly). In my first residency, I was told by a chief resident that if I didnt like how things were run, that “(I) should kill myself”- PD response- “you are going to have to take a few beatings”. There is a difference between being tough and holding your residents/attendings to standards whether they be academically, morally, etc. and outright abuse.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      unreal though tragically so common. These perpetrators are left to continue wreaking havoc even after med students and residents die from their mistreatment. Time for action and accountability.

  4. Irina Campbell says:

    It would seem also that doctors in the US healthcare system are constantly rushing in the appointments. I take it that this problem is being caused by the insurance companies, but also the large healthcare corporations that run the “industry” as it is now. Years ago, docs could take time with patients, have time to take a history, examine the patient and talk with the patient long enough to fully evaluate the health problem and correctly diagnose and treat. Rushing that badly causes stress and exhaustion for the docs. The patients feel they are not getting any assistance with their health complaint, and feel completely hopeless. Completely hopeless is how I feel. Need some assistance, please.

  5. Nicolas says:

    The doctors who can’t treat students well are going to be nice to the rest of us?

  6. Athena Roe says:

    My family is very familiar with bullying. In this case, the hospital based physicians bullied a private practice cardiologist until he took his life. The actions by the hospital based doctors included, unlawfully converting the private practice physicians records to the hospital. This was Federal wire fraud. Then, they broke the private practice physician’s computers so that he could not treat patients. All because of “state run” medicine. This courageous physician stood against the tyranny of the machine, and ended up dead. The only way this will stop is to stop unlawful administrative agency law. To read more, please refer to, Columbia Law Professor’s book, “Is Administrative Law Unlawful,” or Robbed, by Athena Roe

  7. Evelyn Watts says:

    My simple advice: Document, document, document. If you don’t, then bullying or harassment did not happen. Your best defense is hard EVIDENCE. Go with your gut instinct. If something does not feel right – it’s not right. It can never be made right until it’s STOPPED. Do not pretend away bad behavior – it’s not going away. In fact, it’s going to eventually turn into MOBBING. Look it up. Bullying “gone wild.”

    Unfortunately and experientially I know what I’m talking about.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Agree and things will only get worse unless the next generation of doctors stand up to these institutional abuses. Those in administration need to actively weed out the bullies to maintain a safe environment for students, doctors, staff—and let’s not forget the patients.

  8. Please help us says:

    Request an investigation of these deaths (NY) with a PI and start a Go Fund Me to pay for it? If it is said that they had depression, mental health issues and did not seek help, all that has to be proven is why they didn’t seek help and who drove them to their condition. Many convictions were won on circumstantial evidence. Maybe just the rumor of something like this happening will set off a warning to the abusers. (idk! I’m brainstorming) You have enough data to go for it! round up the family members or whatever friends but the data alone is so much. I have to hang LOW. lol

  9. Meredith says:

    Thank you so much for what you are doing!

    It is SO important!

  10. Gloria Ayala says:

    Hi Pamela, thank you for this update. We know bullying was a part of why my son Steve took his life, he had other stressful events also but the bullying, I believe, was the straw that broke his back.
    I can’t believe the number of suicides you are seeing. I pray everyday for help for all medical professionals.
    My son Chris also has a theory as to why this may be happening. He believes doctors do not get any relief, it’s one patient after another so satisfaction of a completed job is never realized or acknowledged. For surgeons patients get better and go back to their primary doctors to finish healing. He compared it to the post office. The mail comes in and goes out but the job is never finished and there again no relief.
    You’re doing a terrific job and if I can help please let me know.
    Gloria Ayala

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Oh the USPS analogy is very appropriate. The cases keep coming and not a lot of time for gratitude. Workload is immense. Trauma exposure particularly burdensome for some specialties.

  11. Bill Wade, DO, MPH says:

    Has implementation of an anonymous national reporting hotline mechanism been established? Pamela or another independent aggreator could coordinate the collection of data without risk of institutional retaliation. Patterns and practice of bullying, abuse and inhumane work environments are emerging. This is an urgent public health crisis and should be exposed as such.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I’ve been running a confidential suicide hotline for doctors since 2012—as a hobby in between seeing patients in my solo medical clinic. Kind of took over my life. We need a legal team. Huge crisis.

    • Irina, You are so right! How can we help you?

  12. CE says:

    This won’t stop until a surviving spouse or parents sue

  13. James says:

    “When thinking about New York….high cost of living, the lower reimbursement rates given the high cost of living which really hurts in a place like that”

    Sorry, but I find this inaccurate. I lived in NYC as a medical student and rent can be affordable if one chooses roommates and the right neighborhood. And these NYC residents are making $65K as PGY-1s and $73K as PGY3s. That’s $20K more than what I was getting a few years back.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I was referring to the low insurance reimbursement in NYC for patient care when compared to places like say Alaska or Oregon with excellent reimbursement and relative low cost of living.

  14. Rosalia Leite says:

    I was a victim of bullying from an emergency doctor from Texas Health science center in San Antonio, TX
    I do not recall his name but he has strabismus and known by his rudeness according to many residents there
    One morning after when I came on time to work, dressing for a cold day,
    he looks to me and shout ” you look horrible”
    Another one of his comments ” who do you think you are?”
    after I had suggested a cbc for child with fever.

    What do you think about this attitude?

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Terrible. This is a cycle of abuse. Starts too often on day one of medical school. Bullying should be a never event in our health care facilities.

  15. I am a psychologist who does studies of political and related attitudes. I could do a study to find out what members of the medical community want, which would probably include no bullying by medical personnel of persons in training within the profession. It might include reduced work hours. All humans tend to manifest signs of mental disorder after being awake very long periods. The information gathered should then be used to redesign the medical system to maximize everyone’s satisfaction. Pamela did this when she felt suicidal years ago and redesigned her practice to the satisfaction of herself and her patients. Why not extend this research approach to redesign the whole medical system? If such research is prohibited by the government, as it is in terms of gun deaths, there may be a need to redesign government itself. For doing that, see my book, Party Time!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      That is the goal. Demonstrating by example what’s possible in one ideal clinic, then replicating it in other regions (now there are 100s of community-designed ideal clinics are open) and then hospital systems can be redesigned using the same basic process. I actually did this when working on the executive team for 1.5 years at a Wisconsin-based hospital system where I did 13 town hall meetings within 48 hours and gathered 2830 pieces of qualitative data that were used to start redesigning the hospital. Based on what the patients want.

  16. Allen says:

    People who bully cause that to be passed on. You bully doctors later they bully patients. It’s like a traffic jam it starts with one.

  17. Chris says:

    I went to visit my med school friends in NY last week. Good god…. They aged 5 years in 1. All burnt out and super depressed. It was eye opening…. NY is a prob.

  18. JL says:

    I was almost one of your statistics from incessant bullying, sexism, and racism at NYU. I see the other residents on the edge, frightened, in such states of desperation. I’m not sure how I survived myself. Thankfully I had a husband who helped me through as I had actually considered going to the roof myself. Some attendings are cruel, even sadistic. Nobody punishes them. They keep victimizing med students and residents. Thank you for shining a light on this!!!! Hopefully more people will come forward to stop the abuse.

  19. "Anthony McCann MD" says:

    My residency director is a psychopath. I do not use the term to be impolite or spiteful, although I do not care for this person at all. I intend to use an exact psychiatric term to describe him, in order to understand his actions. His behavior is fixed, stereotypical and predictable in its nature, which indicates a personality disorder. It involves predation on persons in medical training over whom he has power; this suggests a cluster B personality disorder, psychopathy. Other physician observers have concurred.
    After the first year of residency, I found an opening at another residency, and asked for transfer. He refused to send the appropriate documentation to the other residency and stated that he would follow any movement I made for postgraduate training with a horrible warning to any other program. Pleased, he then set out abusing me for the rest of the residency. My complaints to senior administration were simply handed back to him. I felt like he would be pleased if I would just do the program a favor and die.
    I would recommend the medical community look critically at the history of resident suicides in the Internal Medicine program at X. Actually, I got off lightly, being a male. This church Minister and man of God used to troll the pictures of the female medical students to select them for his Internal Medicine rotation. The most desirable one or two would be selected to go away with him to a conference. And if she didn’t put out, she wouldn’t get a good rating. He told one of the female residents, “Your ass is too fat. Your husband will stop fucking you and get someone else.” He used to demand the female residents take his scrutiny during his supervision – even the ones who didn’t put out. He corrupted the entire residency process. I am certain that he wished me to suicide during residency. It’s a way of getting rid of undesirable residents. What happened to him after ten years of being Residency Director in X? He went to an Ivy League medical school as Dean of Education and Training residency. Talk about the perp shuffle.
    Pam, if you want to create a team for investigating exceptional cases which go beyond bullying to criminal activity, I volunteer to assist. Most bullies are just jerks. Many are sexual harassers. Some are psychopaths, predators, as sick as Ted Bundy. Their crimes should be detailed, and law enforcement should be shown that they do. I expect that a rash of suicides, especially by females, might be a fingerprint of a perpetrator.
    Robert Hare’s Snakes in Suits offers an insightful perspective into high-functioning psychopaths. It’s a must read, unfortunately, for first-year students and residents.
    Directorship of residencies is a psychopath’s playground. The method of operation for the predatory psychopath is to control, isolate, belittle and destroy one’s personal values and guide-map to identity and worth. Students of psychopathy such as Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare show how well the high-functioning clinical psychopath can hide in the waters of organizations, especially those with rigid control. Studies of criminal psychopathy show that 25% of male inmates in prisons are psychopaths.
    But not all psychopaths are low-functioning. I wonder how that 25% compares to medical school and residency training individuals. Psychopathy, like narcissism, is associated with extraversion and positive affect. The so-called core personality traits of psychopathy, may even be beneficial for the psychopath (in terms of nondeviant social functioning). You can see why residency programs fit like a glove for the psychopathic doctor.
    A psychopathic residency director would see resident suicides as acceptable. They are merely the training process taking its course, filtering out the unwanted and less capable from the class. Too many suicides lead to bad press, though.
    Not every residency director, thank God, is a psychopath. But too many are. What I find incomprehensible is why the normal social function of neutralizing and walling off psychopaths does not work in medical training. The more inhumane systems are, the more they select for those with extroverts and enthusiastic persons with shallow affect, superficial charm, manipulativeness, lack of empathy, the more they catch these people with severe personality disorder up into the medical training process.
    I cherish what I do as a healer. It is a vocation. I am really happy being a doctor – now that I’ve gotten away from the mechanical system of training doctors that often hides the human pus like Dr. Z. It needs to be drained. It is wrong and inhuman. And if an organization is inhuman, then human beings cannot flourish there.

    • James Kenyon says:

      DR. Anthony McCann M.D., Wow! this reminds me of some of the various churches who hide their psychopaths by moving them to another location. Your comment along with Dr. Wible’s work and the many others who are becoming aware and seeing this for what it is a monstrosity! will hopefully in the future help to eliminate this problem. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gayce, Jeffery Dahlmer and so many others found an avenue to practice their horror and were eventually caught but only after many innocent people were hurt. Thank you for your comment and I’m going to look up the book by Robert Hare thanks to you.

  20. NYC doc omw to greener pastures says:

    I can tell you that your assessment of the environment in NYC is right on target and that your support for all of us is vital. I have vivid memories of sexual and psychological and physical harassment (like getting punched by a staff person in front of a group of passive staff who did and said nothing)at these institutions which I loved. Medical school was hard (in a mid atlantic rural environment) but nothing like this. Everything you have said is true. And yes, reimbursements barely cover my costs as I practice what I feel is good medicine in a solo practice. The litigation environment is awful and getting worse as the economy declines imho. There are great doctors here that are having their souls wounded by the abuses of the ever more profit-driven system which had been largely based on providing community health care in times past. Doctors here are dependent on institutions which they believe will protect them from bigger threats like litigation and bureaucratic demands. The institutions are in a fight for survival; there have been innumerable hospital closures and no surge capacity remaining in the system. The patient overflow from hospital closures here have made life miserable for many providers at all levels as well. Thank you for bringing this to light. I am doing all I can to support the doctors (and nurses) near and dear to me as this goes on.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Please continue to speak the truth. Nothing will change otherwise. Complacency and apathy and fear will just lead to more suicides. Already at 951 on my registry today. Terrible.

  21. Bullied Resident says:

    My friend has been following your blog and it’s amazing to see the power of validation. My poor friend has been told his whole life that he’s overly sensitive and that he’s unstable emotionally (parents); you should have seen how his face lit up when he came home from work and shared people were commenting and speaking up against these abusive tyrants! He was so happy to read what he considers abuse, being described as abuse, in the comments. He said he was happy to confirm he wasn’t too weak, that there were other students suffering as intensely as he was. He was so happy, he played some of his favorite music for the first time in MONTHS. I think seeing others stand up against what’s wrong cheered him up and renewed his faith that someday, things will change for students in the field of medicine.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Someday is coming very very soon. Culture change is underway. You can’t unhear the truth. You can unsee the truth. And the truth always wins.

  22. Rich says:

    I personally believe that bullies should be prosecuted for attempted murder; and all of them put into hard labor camps working them for 16 hours a day 6 days a week and 8 hours a day on Sundays. This should last for a period of time equal to twice as long as they have been alive; or until death which ever comes first. I bet people would think a few times before bullying others then.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      FYI: That would be less hours than a resident currently works in many of these institutions.

  23. Paul says:

    preventing someone from doing something one way does not stop them from doing it another. Also it does not make the problem go away either.

    Them putting the fence on the roof is just another example of the fact that they do not want the overall public aware of the problem.

  24. Batman says:

    NYU went awry when they decided to corporatize based on the tenets of Ken Langone. There is now a palpable ruthlessness that doesn’t exist elsewhere. Langone doesn’t know anything about medicine but he does know about corporate metrics. When you add in the students who have obsessive perfectionist tendencies, you have a combustible mixture. Every institution that runs top down with no dissent and a philosophy of “ You are with me or Against Me” has failed. In the interim, expect more unhappiness, more suicides, more court cases, and more signs that maybe things aren’t going well. It will take a long time to clean up the mess that Old Man Langone caused.

  25. Mistreated Resident says:

    Hi Pamela & Sydney, thank you very much your efforts to uncover bullying and bad treatment in medical field especially at New York. I also kind of suicided myself. I was a pediatric resident at SUNY Downstate Medical center which is located at Brooklyn on 2015 as an international medical graduate. Environment in the program was so malign, they were constantly yelling to inferiors, intimidating any time. I had exposed really really bad treatment several times. I was so close to be assaulted by an attending once. After supposed educational meeting ended, one of my senior came and told me that “ dude, he made me cry during rounds” this sentence was said because He meant that this is normal, get used to it which I could not bear this burden more than 3 months because I am proud & honorable man. Thank Allah that I am from Turkey, I had somewhere else to go and continuing my career as a doctor. Then I told the program director about my resignation plan, they tried to convince me and send me to the psychiatrist but I could not trust them. Several seniors came and talked me about their experiences when they were intern. Stories was full of being exposed to the yelling, intimating, making fun of them, putting probation and using antidepressive medicines. It was so hard decision for me resigning from residency due to years of working, thousands of dollars spending, studying day and night for exams with little sleeps and all of my efforts for being a pediatric resident and my dreams about being a scientist in medical field. But I resigned due to lack of supportive environment, mean attendings, back stabbing by junior & seniors. I had received 16 interviews from different pediatric residency programs accross the united states. This program was my 4th choice. I am so regretful about ranking new york hospitals high. But I had no idea how they are treating residents.

    In my life, I am a senior pediatric resident at one of respected programs in my country, doing well, moonligting at really nice private hospital. I married with beautiful turkish lady. I love her so much. Everything is on truck now. Interestingly I have got a green card through diversity lottery. I might come to the united states for fellowship training in the near future. I know for sure that I will definetely not coming to the anywhere in new york state again. I have done clinical rotations and reseach studies before at Emory, Texas Heart Institute and Baylor College of Medicine. I had no problem with them. Problem is new york, and attitude of high stakes holders at residency programs in new york.

  26. A Realist says:

    It’s not limited to medicine
    Lots of high pressure , high dollar professions have a certain hazing as rites of passage.
    Right or wrong.
    Investment banking/Wall Street , the military, some sales careers and some law practices come to mind.

    I agree it sucks, but within limits,you just have to be tough enough to get thru.

  27. unnamed says:

    I was assaulted by an attending and suspended to be fired 2 days later. my program director told me never to put my foot in hospital premises. i am lucky to be alive.

  28. unnamed says:

    I was bullied, physically pushed by an attending, and 2 days later was suspended and effectively fired. They told me never to set foot in the premises of Cedars sinai, that I worked at. Once You tell them you are being bullied, they all turn against you.

  29. Mistreated resident says:

    I am so sorry to hear that. I do not know which speciality you were in or where you are from but let me tell you my story, I went back my original country to do residency where I graduated last year, worked as attending a year and come back to the US for fellowship again. Because my book left open with US system, I will try again. I am in highly reputable program and people are very surprised how I get into here without residency in the US.I am making fun of them saying by luck. It has been almost a month, I am doing my best but still lacking behind which is fine, I will pick up within 6 months, you know what if I can’t, screw career here, I was like almost king in my country. I picked where I left before even doing residency there, now If I can go back, I will conquer every area of business related with my speciality over there and make a fortune. I was earning twice of my current US fellowship salary there with great comfort and respect from people but I came here this time for a honor and pride. But if you are US graduate, if you can not make another residency, I would suggest you pharmaceutical companies. In turkey one company offered me even bigger salary than being attending. Never ever feel trapped, hopeless, depressed. There is always ways around. You are more important than everything and everyone. Feel your self preciousness. I know it is easy to say because when I returned to my country It took my 3 years to psychological well being. But it was not due to not being able to US it was matter of honor and pride. You know what helped me most, putting myself above of everything or everyone of else. It sounds selfish but I only care myself which saved me. I care nobody except my job duties, patients and my wife. But still those things has limits. I always put myself first. But it helps me feel alive, keep going forward and effectively performing my duties.

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