Physician facts vs. fantasy →

Candid conversation with Monisha Veerapaneni, a student who left med school to pursue health system change. I get tons of calls from distraught med students and Monisha and I did a Q&A session in hopes of helping others.

0:10    How come premeds aren’t told about high suicide rate in medicine?
1:00    Why didn’t we know suicide rate by specialty prior to my research?
2:35    Why do trainees fear asking for help?
5:02    Cartoon explainer on physician overwork & self-abuse
9:54    Physician betrayal cycle & institutional betrayal trauma
13:49  The foundational flaw in Western medical training
16:43  Why med students are forced to memorize (& then forget) 90% of what we learn
17:12  Med school outrageous tuition rates
21:24  What’s really causing the residency bottleneck?
24:35  How can for-profit med school exist? (& get away with subpar education)
26:46  Why should we care about sleep-deprived doctors?
30:38  Burnout is bullshit explainer cartoon
34:24  Why are med students & doctors afraid to get therapy?
37:43  Physician suicide & hospital crimes against humanity
38:04  Why the physician exodus from medicine to health coaching
40:00  Discussion on physician salary, overhead & reimbursement
41:50   Unique challenges for female physicians
44:44  Why are premeds clueless (or overly idealistic) about the medical profession?
46:22  Family pressure for a physician trophy child

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Are you in a career cul-de-sac? →

30-minute clip from last night’s physician business mastermind on exiting a cul-de-sac career.

Quiz: Are you in a cul-de-sac career?

1) Feeling unfulfilled? Like you’re just going through the motions?

2) Are you still the responsible people pleaser who has trouble saying NO?

3) Ever ask yourself, “Is this it?”

4) Feeling trapped in your specialty? Or wish you could switch?

5) Dream of running away from it all? Retiring to the beach with a Sugar Daddy/Momma?

6) Has medicine traumatized you? (Trapped in trauma-based mind control)

7) Need a sabbatical to heal?

8) Have you daydreamed of quitting? (during training or beyond)

9) Feeling ambivalent? Loss of passion? (Even dead inside?)

10) Even though you “escaped” your crap job still not in your dream job?

If you answered YES to five or more of these questions, you may be in a dead-end job that is sucking the passion and joy from your life. Check out video above for your best exit plan to a career you love.

Need help? Join our upcoming retreats

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Why I really retired from medicine →

Six months ago I wrote: “After nearly 30 years as a family physician (& 25 years serving the people of Oregon), I’m happy to announce I’ve officially retired from clinical practice. Excited to pursue my many other healing adventures. And yes, I will continue to address our physician mental health crisis & run my suicide helpline for doctors & med students in the US/abroad. Thank you for all your love & support. ❤️ More fun to come . . . promise!”

My brief retirement blurb on social media doesn’t tell the true story.

Nineteen years ago, I was told to retire my medical license by a psychotherapist-turned-astrologer. She analyzed my birth chart and told me to leave medicine. I was 35—a newly board-certified physician—and completely unwilling to follow her advice—until nearly two decades later.

She knew nothing about me (other than date/time/location of my birth) when I sat down beside her.

“This chart shows incredible spiritual power—a born healer—and nontraditional,” she explained. “You are not going to go to medical school.” Read more ›

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Why doctors lie →

Doctors are trained to lie.

Here are the top 10 ways. See if you recognize any.

1. Doctors lie about work hours.
When logging actual work hours exceeding the weekly “80-hour cap,” new docs are cited for duty-hour violations. Labeled as inefficient, overworked residents may be sent for a psych eval and prescribed stimulants to force compliance. “We were all taken into a room by the program director and told to lie that we had no work-hour violations.”

2. Doctors lie in medical records.
Rushed visits lead docs to falsify records by checking items in the EMR that were never done. “Writing WNL [Within Normal Limits, more like “We Never Looked”] on a physical is the biggest lie. How can you do a complete physical in fifteen minutes?” . . . “Acronyms and text shortcuts are the only way to be ‘efficient’ enough to keep up with the workload.”

3. Doctors lie on billing.
Packing medical records with items never done allows upcoding to higher level visits and increased reimbursement (plus productivity income). “We had lectures in our hospital on how to ‘code properly,’ to basically commit insurance fraud.” . . . “Doctors who lie get paid more and work less.” Read more ›

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Perfectionism is deadly. How to heal from a medical mistake. →

In memory of Kaitlyn Elkins, a “successful” medical student at the top of her class, who died by suicide due to perfectionism, loneliness & untreated depression.

I know several physicians who died by suicide due to minor medical mistakes. In their suicide notes they claim an inability to forgive themselves. I’ve met surgeons with “video libraries” in their head of every bad surgical outcome. Immersed in self-blame, they replay cases in their mind (for decades!).

Most mistakes are due to system failure (not individual error or malice). Lack of supervision and poor communication in a first-time experience is often the culprit. First experiences are always memorable and may haunt perfectionists who believe they are “unfit” as doctors fearing they may kill future patients. Mistakes result when feeling rushed with no time to ask questions of a trusted mentor. Many docs confide they’ve never had a trusted mentor in their career! Fear of asking questions leads to mistakes due to isolation in decision-making from a poor teaching environment. In life-or-death situations, one’s visceral sensations are heightened and stored in the body (sights, sounds, smells, feelings). If you suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts due to perfectionism and/or medical errors, here are my top 3 tips:

1) START JOURNALING – Write down all you recall about event (sounds, feelings, smells, colors and images, description of patient, including name or “code” name/initials). By writing everything down, you excise the trauma from your body and mind in what I call an “emotional incision & drainage” so you do not end up in “emotional sepsis” as I explain here.

2) SHARE YOUR STORY – Speak confidentially about the case among a group of physicians who are also healing from their own medical mistakes. If you do not have a peer support group, join us here.

3) RELEASE THROUGH RITUAL – Take your written story to a healing spot like the ocean, forest, or garden. Bury the story under a tree/rose bush or drop into ocean. Holding onto the painful event punishes both you—and the patient. Liberate your souls to heal by through prayer & physical ritual. Need help? Attend our retreat.

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