On January 11, 2016, just before midnight, I uploaded a game-changing book to Amazon. I’m now awaiting my proof before releasing the book to the world. (As of January 15th it’s now available on Amazon here). Medical education and practice will never be the same. Mark my words.
Here’s a sneak peek for those who are curious. The description from the back cover:
In Physician Suicide Letters—Answered, Dr. Wible exposes the pervasive and largely hidden medical culture of bullying, hazing, and abuse that claims the lives of countless medical students, doctors, and patients. Now—for the first time released to the public—here are private letters and last words from our doctors who could no longer bear the pain of an abusive medical system. What you don’t know about medical training and culture can kill you. Dr. Wible takes you behind the white coat and into the mind, heart, and soul of our doctors—and provides answers.
This book includes real suicide letters—the last words of medical students and doctors. Also included are letters from surviving family members, colleagues, and patients. Most letters are from actively suicidal physicians seeking my help. All have been published with permission. A few have been edited for clarity. Some names have been changed upon request to safeguard the careers of those who have written to me. Meet six of the physicians we lost to suicide below:
Bobby Bowling, M.D., Philip Henderson, M.D., III, Kevin Dietl, D.O., Kailtyn Elkins, MS3, Vincent Uybarreta, M.D., Greg Miday, M.D.
Despite it all, I remain an optimist.
Medical school knocked me to my knees. I haven’t been the same since. Even though I still have a sparkle in my eyes and joy in my heart, a piece of me is missing. I can never get it back. I’ve tried. My innocence is gone.
Like most students, I just wanted to help people. I wanted to heal the broken world, the injured hearts and souls of patients who would one day entrust me with their lives. Instead, I nearly lost my own life. The memo-rization-regurgitation method of medical education disturbed my creative, non-linear mind. I studied constantly—spitting back medical minutiae for multiple-choice tests. I’m an average test-taker, though I excel with patients. I’m happiest helping people.
But it’s difficult to be happy (or to help people) in a medical culture that condones hazing, bullying, sexual harassment, and teaching by public humiliation. In my school, there seemed to be no end to the filthy jokes that demeaned female patients and classmates. In lectures, my instructors actually made fun of vegetarians for eating “health food.” When I protested the dog labs (as first-year medical students we had to kill dogs), the dean diagnosed me with “Bambi Syndrome.” I was belittled because I cared—about animals, about people, about my own health, and about this planet we call home.
I cried my way through the first year of medical school. As long as my tears kept flowing, I knew I would be okay. Crying meant that I could still feel pain. If I stopped crying, I thought I would go numb. One night I cried so much that I awoke the next day with my eyelids swollen shut. I could no longer bear to see the brutality.
I survived by clinging to my dream of being a caring family physician, of making house calls, of being a trusted and loving neighborhood doctor. I graduated from med school, completed residency, and got a job. I hated it. So I moved to another clinic. Then another. And another. After a decade of seven-minute visits at assembly-line clinics, I was nothing more than a factory worker. I felt like my dream was dead.
I wanted to die.
And, I thought I was the only doctor who felt this way.
Then I got a crazy idea. What if I asked for help? Not from the profession that wounded me. Instead I asked patients: “What is ideal health care? What kind of doctor do you want?”
They told me that an ideal doctor is happy, has a big heart and a great love for people and service. They described an ideal clinic as a sanctuary, a safe place, a place of wisdom with fun flannel gowns and complimentary massage while waiting, where nobody is turned away for lack of money.
I followed their instructions and opened their ideal clinic—the first clinic designed entirely by patients!
I started writing and speaking about my dream-come-true clinic, how I survived med school, and how I recovered from my occupationally induced depression and suicidal thoughts.
Then something weird and unexpected happened. I started getting letters from suicidal medical students and doctors. I wasn’t the only one who had felt this way!
Each year more than one million Americans lose their doctors to suicide, and nobody ever tells patients the truth—the real reason they can’t see their doctors ever again.
Nobody talks about our doctors jumping from hospital rooftops, overdosing in call rooms, hanging themselves in hospital chapels. It’s medicine’s dirty secret—and it’s covered up by our hospitals, clinics, and medical schools.
No medical school wants to be known as the “Suicide School.” No hospital wants to be #1 for interns jumping from rooftops. No student wants to become a doctor in order to kill themselves. It’s the ultimate oxymoron: the barefoot shoemaker, the starving chef, the suicidal doctor.
So what the hell is going on? Why is the plague of physician and medical student suicide such a secret? Why am I the one piecing this together? I’m a solo family doc, yet somehow I’ve become an investigative reporter, a specialist in physician suicide. Why? Mostly because I can’t stop asking why. Why did both doctors I dated in med school die by suicide? Why did eight doctors kill themselves—just in my sweet little Oregon town?
There are answers. Finding them requires being willing to look at some very disturbing facts. It also requires the willingness to engage with people who have experienced and who continue to experience a great deal of pain. So I keep talking and writing—and listening for the truth. And because I’m listening with my heart and soul 24/7, my cell phone has turned into a suicide hotline and I’ve received hundreds of letters from suicidal physicians all over the world.
You may be wondering why so many people who want to help people end up killing themselves. That’s why I wrote this book.
Now available on Amazon!
YES!!! So excited!!! Pieces of art that save lives (and hopefully help others understand the machinations that lead to suicide!). Well done!!
I’m jumping out of my skin with joy ver this inspirational suicide book. What do you think of the cover Jill?
OMG! the cover is awesome! love the plain brown paper background, the framed pictures with candles are sheer brilliance… great tone, texture, message, kickass! nice work sister! 🙂
“I approve of your message.” ~ Pamela
Let’s do the website babe!! <3
I am so looking forward to reading your book. I hope to be able to help suicidal people in my new practice. There is nothing worse than to not be able to ask for help. Everyone assumes you’ll be locked up for merely saying the words. Well not by me! Thanks for bringing this to light!
Thank you SO much for being courageous and speaking the truth and offering to help those in need.
IT LOOKS WONDERFUL 🙂
Thank you!!!!! I DO love it!
Congratulations to you, Pamela! Thank you for exposing the pain we endure in our abusive medical training.
Thank you for having the courage to speak up.
The cover of your book is moving. It grips your heart.
Yes. I have the altar set up in my house and some of these beautiful spirits have been interacting with me! Greg Miday should be a coauthor on the cover. Huge assist in getting this message out to the world. Thank you Greg!!!
Well done Dr Pamela for writing this book. I was particularly struck by the sentence ‘nobody ever tells patients the truth—the real reason they can’t see their doctors ever again,’ as many patients attended the funeral of a beloved Liverpool NHS GP in 2014 but no one knew the truth that he had ended by life with an overdose as he was overworked trying to keep his practice open for his beloved patients and saw no way out. Had they only known beforehand or had he started up his own ideal clinic instead of work a bankrupting NHS contract, he would have been happy and alive today for his young adult family.
The way to prevent these “unspeakable” tragedies is start speaking the truth about them.
It is difficult to comprehend that doctors commit suicide or are driven to suicide. The end of me would have come when I was told to kill a dog or cat or whatever. It is difficult to know that occurs. Having said that, I have 74 years of experience with doctors in Indiana, California, Minnesota, Illinois and Arizona. My encounters have been with doctors, both male and female, who are the last people on earth I would anticipate having suicidal ideations. Several times I have been in a double room in the hospital, on the other side of the curtain while a physician delivered the “death sentence” (my first husband was a dialysis patient for 14 years and my second was implanted with an ICD after his first open heart and died 10 months after his second open heart) and there was very little, if any emotion. I recall a nephrologist who delivered the news, asked if he (the patient) had any questions and then walked out of the room leaving him alone and sobbing. Most of the doctors have been lacking in bedside manner … if there is still such a thing. I always said bedside manner wasn’t important to me; I wanted someone who was interested in treating me, capable of treating me (the more capable the better) and willing to keep me comfortable in the event I was going to have pain with my dying.
These beautiful young people in the pictures just put an entirely different light on the subject. Actually, I’ve been following you for some time now and it is shocking that so many are dying. One of my granddaughter’s life-long friends just entered medical school this past fall and her brother is doing his residency at Duke. Their father is a doctor … I know the female is very intelligent but still struggles and studies constantly. The brother seems to have a slightly easier time of it. I spoke with the daughter after she received her undergrad and asked about the prospect of medical school and expressed concern about her emotional well-being. She was very matter-of-fact about her plans: no kids EVER and she’d be a cardiothoracic surgeon.
I hope what you’re doing will help change or mend a broken system of education, if that is the fix. Perhaps there are some people that should not enter the field. I couldn’t. I think I’m susceptible to phobias! lol Actually, I do have some issues and one of the worst, because it seems to rear its ugly head so often is vasovagal syndrome. It began when I was very young. Needles were the worst part but the smells and sounds in the doctor’s office back then, all that stainless steel headed for autoclaves made me very unpopular when I had to go in. It has gotten worse. Now I can barely walk in a hospital. Strange thing: when my husbands were sick, somehow I sucked it up and stayed upright until the second open heart on my last husband. I had had my share of problems trying to keep everything under control but it was getting more difficult. I passed out in the area where they were putting in the pic line in his neck. I was mortified. I’ll never forget the shame.
I think you’re wonderful. I so admire all that you are doing and have done for the people who are your patients. It is hard not to believe that you are pioneering something that desperately needs to be fixed or changed. The loss of these lives should be of interest to everyone as it impacts us all. And the worst part is that it is such a waste to see a life sacrificed when the intention was to heal and save.
Keep up the excellent work. I can’t wait to read your book.
Thanks MaryAnn ~ These reason why these docs lack bedside manner is they have been methodically dehumanized by our flawed reductionist medical model (the basis of Western medical education). These people started out as loving, caring, idealistic humanitarians and then something happened called medical school. One never emerges the same.It is really an assault on our humanity and we must reform medical education if we are to have the health care that we all (including doctors and medical students) deserve.
Yes what you say is true in most cases but I have also witnessed physicians who deal with cancer patients who see so many die and their treatment is never one hundred percent effective in all cases. These doctors soon learn that it is best to not become too involved with their patients or that treatment becomes the lesser of two evils. They become as robots never taking into account how their patients are affected by their decisions.
I completely agree that we are dehumanized by our training. One of the ways this is done, and that I have always loathed, is that we are not allowed to express our emotions, compassion, and empathy in ways that are genuine and congruent with our true selves. Instead we are “taught” what to say and then put through simulated patient encounters where we are graded on being able to say all the “right” phrases even when they sound false. It’s based on the false premise that you can teach empathy and compassion. Spoiler alert. You can’t. You just strip away the little shreds of humanity we had left in the process.
Yep! Totally agree!!!! Like teaching someone the right things to say when they are in love or when their baby is born. Some things in life are emotional and spiritual and can NOT be measured, graphed, charted, or contained. Sorry guys. The most meaningful things in life are out of the control of those who are addicted to measuring and proving that things are “real.”
Pamela, thank you for writing this important book. I can’t wait to read it!
Me too! I can’t wait to read it on something other than my computer screen! 🙂
This is a topic not too many want to discuss and as long as we continue to try to ignore the problem will only get worse. People don’t want to imagine any medical personnel as bullies, racists, drug addicts perhaps even immensely human. Dr Wible’s book opens the Pandora’s box and exposes the reality. I personally experienced bullying and filthy jokes that dehumanized not only me but our patients. I too considered ending my life when looking for answers, I was even further ridiculed and ignored,despite my good standing in school and with patients. Afterwards, I decided to leave healthcare and haven’t returned but at least left with my integrity, my sanity and most important my life back. Best of luck with your book that is right on target please take it to the main media to make people aware of the reality of many of our physicians and medical personnel.
Yes. This is the book that will break through the media glass ceiling on this taboo topic. No doubt.
Hi Doc, I can’t wait to read this. I’m not a doctor I’m a RN and work at a large teaching hospital here in Macon Georgia. I’ve been here for 24 years and have only seen one resident suicide which is one too many. I never realized it was such a widespread problem until I started following you. Thank you for your work on this problem and I hope your book will help these doctors and residents who contemplate suicide. Nurses do care about this as we depend on the future of medicine so we also may learn to help our patients.
You take great care out there,
Mark Bowen RN
Can’t wait to read this. Thank you for all you do for the wounded warriors of medicine .
I think there are also some accidental deaths that are “unintentional” suicides among doctors.
I knew an outstanding doctor who dedicated his life to serving the under-served community. He had a simple practice and would care for anyone, especially those without insurance. He had the best bedside manner I have ever seen. But I always worried that he was draining himself, always being there for others but not having time for himself.
He went on vacation. I think it was the first vacation he had ever taken from his practice. On the way home he fell asleep at the wheel and hit a semi and died. I do not think it was a suicide because his life partner was with him at the time and survived. I do not think he would ever put her at risk. But I have always wondered if there a piece of him that was finding it impossible to return back to work but felt that there was no way out and that internal conflict played out in the accident.
These are the doctors I worry about too. The ones who are struggling to care for patients but are losing the rest of their lives to do so. They may want a way out but they do not want to leave the patients without someone to care for them. These are the most dedicated physicians and the most caring ones and the system is destroying them in many ways (health problems, increased accidents, addictions) and suicide is just one symptom of this entire diseased system.
Thank you for writing about this important problem.
Yes. Many “accidentally on purpose” deaths too. These are also not being tracked in any meaningful way.
In personology their is a condition referred to as “Sanpaku”. There was a story referenced about a pilot who was witnessed to having this condition before taking off on a sight seeing flight. He flew into a mountainside.
One cause of this condition can be attributed to STRESS and FATIGUE.
According to Chinese medical face reading, when the bottom of the white part of the eye, known as the sclera, is visible it represents physical imbalance in the body and is claimed to be present in alcoholics, drug addicts and people who over-consume sugar or grain. Conversely, when the upper sclera is visible it is said to be an indication of mental imbalance in people such as psychotics, murderers, and anyone rageful. STRESS AND FATIGUE may also be a cause. In either condition, it is believed that these people attract accidents and violence.
In August 1963, macrobiotic pioneer George Ohsawa predicted that President John F. Kennedy would experience great danger because of his sanpaku condition.
In 1965 Ohsawa, assisted by William Dufty, wrote You Are All Sanpaku which gave this perspective on the condition:
For thousands of years, people of the Far East have been looking into each other’s eyes for signs of this dreaded condition. Any sign of sanpaku meant that a man’s entire system — physical, physiological and spiritual — was out of balance. He had committed sins against the order of the universe and he was therefore sick, unhappy, insane, what the West has come to call “accident prone”. The condition of sanpaku is a warning, a sign from nature, that one’s life is threatened by an early and tragic end.
In popular culture
John Lennon mentioned sanpaku in his song “Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)” from the 1973 Mind Games album. It is also briefly referenced in William Gibson’s Neuromancer, as well as in Michael Franks’ 1979 song “Sanpaku”. The Firesign Theatre’s piece “Temporarily Humboldt County” mentions a character named “Sam Paku”.
Notable people with sanpaku
John F. Kennedy
Osama bin Laden
Tracee Ellis Ross
I’m a naturopath and never heard it described like this before. Very interesting. Thank You,
I am so excited to see this go to print. Very nice work! Tragically important subject, it is high time to be shedding some light on this…in more ways than one. Bravo!
Just this sneak peak has tears in my eyes, rolling down my cheeks, Pamela. What an amazing person you are! Thank you so much For all that you do!
Oh wow! You better grab some Kleenex when you read the book!
I’m very pleased about your book! I will buy it and will buy books for my Doctor friends too. I’m an MD and I went to school in the University of Autonomous of Guadalajara (Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara). I’m an American and was an older student, and graduated with highest honors as an undergrad. I didn’t get accepted and that’s why I went to Mexico. I’m licensed everywhere in the world EXCEPT America. When I came back to live in my state and take my exams to be licensed in America, my husband had a number of health problems and I couldn’t or wouldn’t focus on studying for my USMLE exams. I luckily signed up to receive emails from you and started to realize, I would truly hate residency and working in the factory-like conditions. I’ve caught up with my classmates who completed their licensing in the US and they’ve all talked about HATING working. Also my friends in Mexico have said exactly THE SAME THING!
My husband is well now, and we bought a beautiful home on the west coast of Mexico which we go to and from. I want to build my Ideal clinic in our town to serve the population of locals and also the “Sunbirds” (Americans and Canadians who come for the winter months). My plans are thanks to you Dr. Pamela Wibble! This is my chance to work exactly and do the best I can. I love patients and this will allow me to enjoy my life! You’ve been an answer to my desire for a solution! Truly you are doing great work! I love your wonderful character! Melanie Lee M.D.
What a great idea! I’m here if you need help. I would guess in Mexico it is direct pay which is AWESOME!!!
I am happy that someone has written a book on this subject. Medical School continues to be the worst experience that i ever went through in my life. I did OK academically and eventually completed a surgical residency , but it came with a price : i became so ill with arthritis during the second year of medical school( almost disabling ) from all the high stress and it changed me from a happy easy going person to a mature warrior. I became involved with Martial Arts which helped me ( and continues to help me) manage the stress . Very few people understand the magnitude of sacrifice we make by going through medical training.(And now we are treated by corporations in a way resembling textile workers). I lost two classmates within the first two years after graduation due to Drug overdoses ( i do not think they committed suicide ) and now i wonder how many other medical doctors have similar outcomes. Maybe this can serve as another marker for ” the dehumanization of medical students ” as another form of coping ( short of suicide). I complement you on your work .
Yesterday, I was having a conversation with my therapist — yes, I’m a doctor whose lifeline is a therapist — about the myth of resilience. She said, “You know, to many people, YOU probably seem pretty resilient, Kelly. You have a family, a house, a job, a car, after going through some pretty big life events. You have a good sense of humor and plant a smile on your face at clinic after having gone through your spouse’s affair, a suicide attempt, a hospitalization, a threat to your medical license, your daughter’s suicide attempt, etc. They don’t realize that you come in here every other week and cry, either. They think YOU are resilient.” We all need to rip off these masks sometimes, huh, Pamela?
Please do yourself a favor and remove the mask permanently. No healing can take place when doctor and patient play the “roles” of doctor and patient. Two people—facades of their true selves—in seven-minute office visits. That’s not health care.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken” ~ Oscar Wilde
Impressive! I used to work for physicians in Astoria. My mother was the office manager. I do know one doctor that worked in that medical facility that committed suicide. We as patients forget to realize doctors are people too. Thank you for your amazing work Dr. Wible! I really wish you could be my doctor. We need doctors like you!! Thank you!
Bless you wise brilliant & compassionate Doctor of Self FIRST. BRAVO! Standing Ovation. Multiple curtain calls!
I am a SURVIVOR of a horrific suicide attempt. Vietnam veteran, paratrooper, military police officer in charge of all the MP’s on the island of Okinawa 1969 to 72 as Duty Officer.
Received no help from the VA for 40 years living a reckless, tragic life. Angry & full of self hate. 40 years later, well over a dozen VA psychiatrist doled out endless SSRI’s etc. as if they were happy pills. They were not. Flat lined me.
All I could think about was the day I would finally end my suffering with the six-inch boning knife plunged through my left lung and heart. Never owned a firearm since the military as I would have blown my head off a long ago.
The Creator I call GOD would have none of my plan so he made sure I was spared. Under arm guard again and Kaiser hospital two days later shuttle back down to Fort Miley VA hospital in San Francisco for my second 5150 lock up. That was six years ago this past Christmas. Bused home several days later for several months wasting away … down to 130 pounds with not one bite to eat for eight months. Thousands of red pussy sores cover my itching body. Had terrible vertigo. Edema swelled my both my legs from the knees down to twice there size. No one came to help me. Faced it all alone waking each day praying that God would just please let me die. Months later it happened………. Not suicide but my CALLING!
Still healing from the knife wound that I had plunge and twisted angrily in hopes that I would die for sure …….. Sitting home alone, reflecting on what a mess my university educated life had become, the most calming soft, crystal clear voice entered my home at said reassuring to me:
“GET YOUR TEMPLE IN ORDER AND GO OUT AND PREACH MY HEALING GOSPEL OF NUTRITIOUS SEEDS!”
That was it . Raised on a farm in the suburbs of Birmingham Alabama in the early 1950s I knew exactly what that meant. I immediately got up and went to my computer. First thing I researched for days was sprouting organic seeds. I invested well over $1000 with sprout people.org and started sprouting A-to-Z sprouts and professionally photographing them to teach. Next came a couple thousand dollars or so invested in state-of-the-art juicers.
I fired the entire Mentally Ill Department at the veterans clinic in Santa Rosa California and walked outside and took charge building the Veterans Organic Peace Garden. NO MORE inside PTSD meetings. The garden was my new healing Doctor. I dreamed I was eating a ribeye steak. Next day I bought groceries all organic all pasture raised. I started putting on weight rapidly. I invested in a TREK, Road, Tour de France type bicycle and started performing peak performance training. For two solid years I attended the garden completely alone talking with many many veterans from World War II on and giving them organic vegetables that I grew myself. My primary care physician was so enamored when I told her I was farmer Tom that she child like pleaded with me to show her around my garden. With white coat and stethoscope around her neck I showed her around the garden, teaching her all about each plant & their nutritional benefits. She visited me six times out in the garden in between seeing patients. Even came to see me and a beautiful Indian dress on a Saturday as attended the garden religiously for two years Wednesdays and Saturdays. I would pick beautiful flowers I grew then take them into the veterans clinic for the receptionists desks. Most all the doctors nurses and aids in the clinic knew me as the MIRACLE as a minimum of 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Well in excess of 150,000 of us Veteran’s from the Vietnam war tragedy have succeeded in committing suicide.
After juicing the next step in the nutrition latter was culturing. I always sought out the highest & the best in their fields to learn from them. Learned culturing my own Kefir then Kombucha.
There was still something missing. The granddaddy Grand Slam of all nutrition I saved for last and that was Anaerobic Fermentation. Endless Internet searches until I hit the mother load. Beautiful website called PICKL – IT.com. I called the phone number and a woman answered. She was the brainchild is the inventor! The fermentation genious I’ve been searching for.
Over the next couple of months we spent at least 16 hours via landline and she tutored me. I invested approximately $1000 and bought multiples of her entire line from one half a liter to 5 L glass vessels with fermentation locks atop. First Ferment I learned was beat Kvass that purges and nourishes the liver and kidneys. Next came garlic. Then kimchi. I fermented everything in anything veggie. Much I grew myself. The 18 month fermenting salsa was out of this world. I have some Ferment’s fermenting three years now in my refrigerator.
I quickly began teaching my favorite people much of what I had learned throughout various local organic farmers market’s. I taught people how to lower their blood sugar and lower their blood pressure.
As a long-ago premed student that dissected a cadaver in a functional human anatomy class I was now the doctor I had always wanted to become. A doctor of God’s food and medicine from nature.
I listened to endless hours of podcasts from the top people in their fields. Integrative physicians, ancestral medicine,the traditional lifestyle etc. I invested in healing summits such as healing the gut summit and the truth about cancer. I bought them all via flash drive and DVDs.
My family that had turned their collective backs on me during my worst years started to listen to me. Now, my entire extended family … brother and his wife and my sisters children are all now culturing Kefir and fermenting Beet Kvass etc. I taught the most important exercises to do in conjunction with nutrition is investing in a German Bellicon rebounder to empty their lymphatic systems daily. I taught my brother how to withdraw from benzodiazepines.
Important people in the healing fields started to seek me out and visit my Total Nutrition Center complete with Sunlighten full spectrum sauna.
Invested $600 and Codesigned my new calling cards!
I teach people the world over via Facebook Twitter and Instagram how to reclaim their health. Numerous women with various cancers send me their email address. I send how to’s to infuse their bodies with living enzymes to defeat their diseases. People in Poland, Buckingham palace England, India, Austria, Australia, cork Ireland etc. etc. etc. Endless people I’ve never seen I help. NEVER charging one penny to anyone & giving freely many tens of thousands of dollars to those in need. Doing EXACTLY what I was told to do starting with get my temple in order……..
God Bless you Doctor Pamela Wible. Anything I can do to help you please do not hesitate to contact me. I am a gifted healer teacher with over 69 years of experience. Doctors listen to me. I spend hours teaching Veteran’s Administration AMA doctors natural medicine … they are inspired by me
What a fabulous story of healing! Using nature . . . Wow!
My Calling Card says NATURAL HEALING * FOOD AS MEDICINE
Let Mother Nature Be Your Pharmacist
Sprouting, Juicing, Kombucha, Jun, Kefir, Dehydration, Essential Oils
Willing to help you in Transforming the American Medical Association
Although I am not a physician (I am a NP) I find the same frustration in assembly line medicine. Patients want to be heard and feel their provider truly cares. Unfortunately I have lost several jobs because I just can’t seem to not care and get visits done in 10 minutes.
Assembly-line medicine insanity impacts us all. Here’s how one health system responded: https://www.idealmedicalcare.org/blog/doctors-not-allowed-to-ask-patients-how-are-you/
I know I had at least 2 people in my medical school class commit suicide. It may be more but I have not kept in contact with the rest of the class. Although I absolutely LOVED medical school in many ways, it was just the beginning of normalization of ABUSE. Abuse by the residents and attendings, abuse by others in the hospital equally under lots of pressure, and now abuse by the system – insurance companies, government, general expectations from myself and patients regarding what a “good” doctor should be.
I have on numerous occasions considered suicide myself but needing to be there for my kids and husband has kept that from happening. I have been on medication for years. I have wanted to quit my job so many times and am counting down the days until “retirement” even though I am only 48. I have backed down and out of hospital responsibilities which has helped, though only to cause more financial worry. Life is a bit better now as I am not taking as many things personally; however, the wonderful honor of being a family practice physician, being intimately involved in patients’ lives, has not been what I expected it would be. I am still looking for the solution.
I am happy to help you Mindy. You can practice medicine YOUR own way. Do not accept what the bullies tell you. Please, please watch this: https://www.idealmedicalcare.org/blog/our-message-of-hope-for-medical-students-doctors/
Thank you for bringing this to light. My daughter wants to be an ER doc and I keep praying that she will either succeed and put up with the garbage or she will find another path.
As a current resident struggling through all you mentioned above, I truly appreciate your honesty and strength to share such notes and stories. Can’t wait to read your book!
Suffering from Pancreatitis/Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction and Crohns Disease has brought me face to face with an incredible amount of physicians/hospitals all across our nation, especially over these past 7 years. Ive seen literally dozens of centers and hundreds of drs!!!!!!!
And, with that experience, are the many comments now being shared with me by drs., patients, and nurses while running my Project Purple Umbrella (A Pancreatitis Awareness Action Group).
I have heard many stories and experienced them all myself as well… They’re not pretty mostly!!! Most are cases of over-burdened staff, coupled with the misinformed/uneducated in this arena of biliary disease…
And thats to be expected with a rare disease…
Still tho,… Ive noticed a huge transformation occurring in our hospitals, and it is rough out there!!! FOR EVERYONE!!!
With such a rare disease, we all are very confused as to just WHAT TO DO basically and many times, the drs. have been less than compassionate (some being extremely rude even). But I believe this is due to them not receiving the alpropriate training for pancreatic disease and nothing more. I think that as we move forward, in educating ALL in this issue, the relationships will improve between drs. and this group of patients!!!
And it’s Project Purple Umbrella’s goal to do just that!!
We patients had never been able to figure out exactly why this had been happening at such high percentages of our visits to the ER. As we are truly very sickly and we struggle horribly to get even the basics.
It took me a while to catch on to what was going on with our medical system………..
One day while in Hopkins, I saw/heard a huge breakdown between a few residents and the attending….
So, being a MOM…(lol) I asked this one resident to take a seat for a moment.
I could see him struggling. So I began to discuss this issue of stress with our medical folks with this very young resident…(I had just read Dr. Makary’s book “UNACCOUNTABLE”)…
I was telling him that these complex cases such as mine were probably not what he had invisioned when he signed on to CARE for people… He probably dreamt of a fabulous, prestigious life… with a nice fast car, beautiful wife and family, and some McMansion somewhere gorgeous… With vacations in the south of France… Lol…
NOT PEOPLE PUKING ON HIS DOCKERS!!! (muchless, being in Baltimore)!!!
I told him that I did understand the hardship he was facing… As it was very evident that the weight of the world was on his shoulders. It was like I was sitting my own child down for a 1 on 1 about whether he chose the right path for his career… It was a great talk we had and altho he didnt divulge any “INSIDER INFO” to me, I could see he just needed a break!!!
I do feel very bad when I see these ER drs. running around endlessly, for hrs straight, with HIGH INTENSITY CASES, one right after another… Drunks, overdoses, and a lot of stupidity coming through the doors (I feel half of the cases are self-inflicted or at least are preventable)…but these cases DO come!!! And these drs. do somehow have to deal with them..
NOTE: (I ASO FEEL THEY SHOULD FINE STUPIDITY!!!!)
But our drs. are saddled heavily with a continuous flow,
ALL WITH VERY LITTLE REST!!!! It is inhumane!!!
YOU HAVE THE MOST CRITICAL OF JOBS BEING PERFORMED IN THE ABSOLUTE WORST ENVIRONMENT AND NO ONE SHOULD BE PRACTICING LIFE-SAVING CARE WHILE HALF ASLEEP… Muchless having to juggle an incredible number of intense cases all at once!!! And it is PRACTICING MEDICINE!!! It isnt a perfect science, so I can see a dr. 2nd guessing themselves all throughout the day… JUST THAT would drive one bonkers!!!
I see both sides now… Most people think a dr. is some sort of a Superman… Can handle this “easy job” where they just putter around, visiting with many folks all day long….yep,… It certainly LOOKS low-key…. To the naked eye…
But I know better!!! I have always placed myself in the shoes of those I meet…. Drs. included…
So, I dont have any delusions as to the stress level loaded upon their shoulders.
When I meet-n-greet an ER dr., and theyre crass or seeming uncaring,
I do attempt to work WITH them- NOT AGAINST THEM… WE ARE SUPPOSE TO BE A TEAM!!!!
But most people dont feel that way… THEY EXPECT A ONE-SIDED CASE OF PERFECTION…
WHAT THEY EXPECT IS A “MACHINE” of some kind to walk into their cubicle…
They are thinking of nothing else except of their own issue! (And that is understandable when someone is hurting)…. Its very difficult to focus while in pain…
But, we are ALL JUST PEOPLE and if patients gave 2 seconds of consideration to these drs.,
I believe theyd see a huge difference in how their consults went!!!
You have to give respect to get it!
And if someone is treating their dr. coldly, like they are not HUMAN, and are just
Then that cold, robotic machine is EXACTLY what youre going to recieve!!!
TREAT YOUR DR AS THE PERSON THEY ARE, AND YOU WILL HAVE THAT TENDER DR YOU ARE SEEKING!!!
Just my opinion!!!
I am very excited to get my copy!!!
I think a patient always senses SOMETHING is off, because sady, these days, more often than not, we are often confronted with a dr who seems overly bitter, irritated… overly anxious… Its just something I couldnt ever put my finger on… but I definitely have met many a twitter-pated dr and could never really understand why they were so distracted.
Knowing that so many were pushed, or rather, had “FELT” pushed into ending thier so promising lives,… Well… It just rattles my heart to the core…. And really opens my eyes even moreso to the pressures theyre under.
GOD BLESS OUR DRS!!! Give them strength to know that HE is always with them and HE is the one truly in control!!!! AMEN!
Girl, This book is going to change things! You have turned over the throw rug and exposed what has been swept under it for years. Thank you for letting folks know they can throw away the rug and replace it with a Welcome Mat.
Yep. I’d have to agree. HUGE changes coming starting later this week when it is released 🙂
Thanks! Can’t wait to read. I am a Nurse Practitioner and felt this too. Not suicide actually but the inability to care for my patients in the manner that i dreamed i would or how i would like to be cared for. I have since retired… Miss patient care immensely but would not return due to how the health care system is treating it’s patient consumers.
Oh, please come back. I can help you start your dream clinic. Nobody should be forced to practice assembly-line medicine. There is another way! Contact me and I can send you a 10-page FAQ on my secret recipe 🙂
Continued success, Pamela! By the comments a long overdue relevant read. My hero!
I read the suicide note on the front cover of the book and immediately became saddened. Having utilized handwriting analysis in various aspects of legal Voir Dire and criminal evaluation I recognized the tell-tale signs of suicidal tendencies.
My daughters interested in the medical field as she wants to work in pediatrics. Is this something she needs to be prepared for or aware of? WOW! This was interesting. I hope this helps others.
Yes. She should be aware of the medical culture (hopefully will improve once this book is released and people know the truth).
I just ordered mine from Amazon! I can’t wait to jump into it. Your work resonates with me. I will connect with you….soon.
Congrats on the release of your book. I’m a surgeon in the San Francisco Bay Area and am looking forward to reading your book. My name is Barry Rose and am ecstatic that you are on the path to bring about transformational change. I have written a book to be released early July about bringing compassion back into healing.I would love to visit with you and work with like minded people to make a difference. I’m excited for you and best of luck!!!
Congratulations Pamela! Not only for your book that I am looking forward to reading but for your own journey to truth. 2 years ago I suffered through burnout finding myself a shell of a human on 3 months of disability. it’s taken me more than two years to recover and has changed my life forever. I am grateful for the personal growth and transcendence above a the system I “grew up in”. I have re-claimined my life and finding myself again has been a gift. There is a clear message beyond the tragedy that it can be different and better than we ever imagined. I am here to support you, we should talk.
YES! YES! YES! Thank you for reaching out Amy. One favor. Please don’t use the victim-blaming term “burnout.” Here’s why: https://www.idealmedicalcare.org/blog/burnout-is-bullshit/
Dear Dr. Wible,
Thank you so much for writing this book on a largely overlooked topic. While I am not a physician, I am a nurse practitioner student and have worked alongside numerous medical students, residents, and attending physicians. A medical student friend of mine told me she studied so much that she felt like showering was taking too much time away from her studying. Also, one of the most shocking things I’ve ever heard a resident tell me was that, as part of her residency, she needs to work 30-hour shifts. I asked her if she got sleep during those shifts and she laughed and said, “You don’t sleep. You get used to it.” I can’t imagine anyone being able to function properly after such a shift, and that’s just one of the many things I’ve heard about residency that is definitely abuse. I left my job at the hospital last year as a registered nurse because I couldn’t handle the environment and the working conditions. I can’t even imagine what physicians go through while working in the hospital.
I’m so happy that you’ve shed light on this topic. When I first heard about your work, I actually spoke to two of my friends who were about to enter medical school and asked what their thoughts were on the subject. They become incredibly defensive, and I never heard from them again. This issue definitely needs more awareness, and needs more individuals like you to help and solve the problems in our medical education and abusive health care system.
I have always dreamed of opening up my own patient-centered clinic, and was full of joy when I heard that you had opened up your own ideal clinic. When I finish NP school, I would love to do the same and will definitely be referring to your work to see how to do so 🙂
Thank you again for your courage, strength, and empathy.
You can do it Charlene! I can help you open your dream clinic. It’s EASY. Please contact me.
In this country that is so spoiled and takes so much forgranted, who we as a nation are plagued by a horrid societal disease of depraved in difference. As a patient I have too often felt lost and abandoned by my doctors. Felt unheard and overlooked. There is much need for doctors who actually do care to take the time to see and hear, listen and feel what their patients are telling them.
I suffer from fibromyalgia and so often have I been treated as if my pain is all in my head from the very beginning when I was diagnosed six years ago. It wasn’t until a car accident caused by my inability to drive that day that made my symptoms go from still being able to work but visiting the ER once every couple of months because the flare of pain was worse than giving birth to I could barely even walk to use the restroom or bathe without help, nevermind drive . I’m going on three years feeling invisible. I actually had the very doctor who diagnosed me say he felt it was psyco semantic; he actually wrote that to my disability attorney. And yes I’ve been rejected by that too because according to the judge I am still able !?!? Because I took the time to wake up 4 hours prior to my hearin to look half decent, so according to him and my doctors I don’t look sick?!?!?! I’m too young !?!? When often times I miss appointments because I am unable to drive myself, dress myself and bathe!!!! I’m NOT lazy or bored or dramatic! I am not one to live on the system so I can do nothing and take advantage of a system that was to created for people like myself. Yet to consistantly be treated as if I am. Be forced to suffer and lose so much.
My mother came to care for me and put me on an organic diet of liquified veggies 6-8 times a day with one meal of grains, veggies and coffe enemas once every two days while taking supplements and being on a rotation of kidney, liver and full body flushes. Which cost about $1000 dollars a month. Which obviously as the average American I cannot sustain that. But out of desparation I did it . And it got me from bed ridden to able to care for myself and even drive again and my pain went from a 12 to a 6/7 . But once I stopped the pain can back almost as bad as it had been which I’m at on any given moment throughout the day 8/9/10 in pain. From the pain the amount of exhaustion and insomnia . I’ve gone consistantly with no sleep for 3-5 days or have slept only 4-6 hours in a week and then my body crashes without notice and I pass out quite literally for up to 28 hours .
So here I am now writhing in pain, lack of sleep ,suffering from horrible depression and doing all I can to get my doctors to listen . Changing doctors multiple times, looking , searching for someone to take the time to treat me as if I was their loved one suffering. I could only wish to have some horrible cancer or strange contagious bacteria flesh eating bacteria… Perhaps then they would pay attention.
I go through my everyday like a broken person who is no longer living a bountiful beautiful life and lost in the cracks of this broken system. I can barely do day to day tasks that I once took forgranted.
Suicide doctors how tragic but also what about the suicides of patients who have lost so much because we leave our health and very lives in the hands of those who took the hippocratic oath who leave us feeling robbed, without hope, lacking faith and lost on our own to feel nothing but despair and suidcidal ideation of our own.
Myself having lost my job for too many absences because of my illness , no way to pay bills, reaching out in every direction for help! As the cost for healthy food, medication and healthcare rises and how some generics don’t even work the same as the brand name products, as the cost of trying to stay alive and barely afloat also rises what is left but to give up and just die. I myself been there, this past June, having slit my wrists because no one cares to listen. To hear how certain medications make me sick or make my symptoms worse when I’ve taken them and have these doctors look at me with the look of ” deer caught in the headlights ” as if thier medical journals don’t share new treatments and as if it isn’t known that this illness affects every person differently. Often times I’ve felt I know more and they look at me with dis stain . Like I’m not smart enough to do research and ask questions on my own . They often look at me like I don’t know what it is I am talking about be it my pain and my day to day life because I’m only 40 because that’s too young to feel this horrible!?!?! My poor children who witnessed my own life fall apart before their very eyes… I am but a shell of who I was …
I’m not just a number I Am a Human being !!!!! Our healthcare system is nothing but an assembly line with so many doctors who act as if though they are Gods . Well God forbid they have close family and friends who suffer from a terrible illnesses, let’s see how they would react then when dealing with someone like themselves.
I live in Massachusetts, near Boston where there are hospitals and clinics that are world renound because of the medical universities we have here, nevermind the bountiful amounts of money thrown at them. One would think there would be something more to offer. Some incling of Hope to have quality care and quality of life as they preach. None of which has been true in my experience.
Having lived in a third world country for a good portion of my life, I’ve seen doctors take more care, act with kindness, respect and integrity toward thier patients, than the doctors I have had here in the states . If it only were for the lack of money that country has and resources, one could only imagine how many people could be helped if they did.
I do not take away the fact that doctors have to go through so much through their studies and residency. Nevermind the stress, pressure and competition. Or the fact that they could very well be brilliant and talented . But where is all this arrogance and carelessness come from????
I certainly commend you for writing such a wonderful book ; for the pain, personal truth, honesty and stories you share . If only, truly, if only doctors overall had the insight and empathy you do.
God bless your very being and I wish nothing more than for you to have the success and fullfilment in healing the masses, that you and others like you keep fighting for whatever humanity is left in this world.
Thank you for writing courageous book , I wanted you to know incase I am no longer here to have said so and to have shared part of my story with you. Because I am living on what feels like June is coming for me again.
To all those who have been injured by our medical system, I am sorry. I am sorry that parents who had planned to attend their child’s medical school graduation instead attend their child’s funeral. I am so sorry that doctors wear forced smiles while living lives of silent desperation for fear of seeking help for their trauma. And I am so very, very sorry that patients receive the scraps we offer them as wounded healers. We all deserve better.
Yes, I get it. Try looking at Ph.D.s and unresolved ABDs particularly in medicine-related studies. Thank you.
It’s not just the abuse endured during the educational process. Afterward, you get abused by hospital administration and patients/families. There are the ever present patient satisfaction scores. And, if anyone ever complains about you, it is always your fault. The patient/family is never held accountable for their actions.
I have been in practice for 25 plus years. I enjoy my work (emergency medicine). I like the folks that I work with. I feel bad when there is a bad outcome. But, the thing that makes me cry the most is how I am treated by patients/families and, subsequently, by hospital administration.
“A dysfunctional medical system can only exist on the backs of a disempowered physician population—the precursor of which is an abused medical student population.”
Will it be available in Kindle format?
Yes! Working on that this week! 🙂
I am a nurse in LTC and these feelings of being inadequate, devalued and made to feel any mistake in practice is a clear result of lack of knowledge. My previous DON made a point of belittling anyone around her that did not fit her mold of an “ideal nurse”. While I made mistakes, in her mind, I was her target until I left the facility on a litter going to the hospital to rule out an MI. Ever since that day, I have been more cautious and afraid to make an error. Sadly, professionals should not treat each other in this manner. Perhaps being more human should encourage us to be more humane.
Yes! We must treat each other as family and be loving and caring if we are to call this work “health care.”
Just ordered 2 copies,for my wife and I. We are 2 Psychiatrist that have observed the high level of suicides in n the medical field…thanks for high lighting this important issue.
Please let me know what you think of the book after you read it. Tragic & inspiring all at once.
MS1 here…a non-trad, I left a career I loved to be obedient in God’s call on my life. Not to just be a healer…to be a healer to the healers. I’m impassioned by this topic and I can tell u- after only 6 mos in- this is absolutely a priority to me. I am a suicide survivor and I initially refused to take the chance of facing those demons again by going into medicine. Once I surrendered to it I finally understood WHY I was called here. I 100% identify with u, Dr. Wible…and I am doing everything I can to bring awareness to this heartbreaking reality amongst my own future colleagues. Just wanted u to know I’m in this fight with you! God bless…can’t wait to get my copy!
Please share widely! Especially with anyone associate with a residency or med school. We must start by humanizing our medical education model.
Our son in law is in his first year of residency and already the stories we hear are bits and pieces of poor human decisions of hard working soon to be maybe Doctors. From the years of writing papers and doing research trying to land a residency to the work them like slaves and then after a 14 hour day they bring them back in for a 8 hour test on four hours of sleep, it’s made me to not encourage our children to be doctors. What is this about a 3rd year resident telling a first year resident what to do and giving them authority over them as if they are a refined doctor. Seems like collage games that have been looked down on for years. The stories from fast food joints and resident Doctors seem to run on a similar plane. Poor guided authority leads to unpredictable and too often bad outcomes of reactions that has me think of only one reaction, ” What did you expect ” ?
What a sweetheart you are. I left the medical profession (LPN, I was going to continue my education, but no thank you. Massage therapy replaced it), because of the politics & unethical practices I encountered. It is ridiculous. Now I’m a patient in need of a good physician. (lol). Patient profiling does seem to be rampant. I feel guilty that I have nerve damage because I am in pain God forbid.
Please keep up the great work and just keep people talking. When things open up through communication, wonderful things can happen.
The big paradigm shift in medicine is happening. Hang on sister. The patriarchal reductionist medical model is fatally flawed and is collapsing under itself. Don’t let it steal your beautiful life.
We have a dominant culture of fear.
Bosrds of medicine function as fiefdoms.
We are the serfs.
When doctors stop agreeing to be victimized, we will have widespread change.
The world is experiencing an increasing aging population not only in the USA but also around the world as well. In addition, many countries are experiencing declining birth rates around the world due to the economic scandals in the last 36 years because people have been putting off marriage or having large numbers of kids if they were married. We need to save as many medical and nursing staff in order to take care of the aging population. Personally, I would not want to depend on a robot or some kind of automated machine to do some work that could be done by a human being if I am at the hospital or the doctor’s office.
I hope you don’t mind but I added this page as a link in my “Righteous Reads” page on my dental advocate web site.
If you do not approve of the add, please let me know and I will remove it immediately!
Thank You for your candor and honesty, we need many more like yourself to save our dying healthcare system!
I am speaking my truth from a patients perspective and it has been received with mixed reviews from the healthcare profession.
Am I an “Advocate” or on the “Attack”? I think I’m just a person like you who see’s a need to enlighten the public.
If we want to see change? We have to promote change! I commend all who step outside the box for the right reasons!
Please share widely!
When I was an intern I insisted on staying to hold the hand of a dying man with no family until he was gone. My Chief Resident was disgusted and angry. I have never looked back. I am different-sensitive. It made me a bit defensive, and perhaps overly protective of my patients. I am alone (with my God), but intentionally. After 32 years I am the anesthesiologist they call to every Code Blue. We are on the brink of death daily, and we must treasure the life and lives we hold with the utmost respect and care. It is love, something I will never give up. Bless you, you are following your heart. Keep going !
Sandra, you are an angel. It’s an honor to have you as a colleague!
Dear Dr. Wible,
Very nice and politically correct. I am sure that you are being financially compensated for all this very well. With all the blogging and public presentations how much time do you have left for your patients? And how much time do you spend per appointment? And if you do spend more than 15-20 minutes per pt. how in the world are you able to pay the over-head? Or is that where all this philanthropic activity comes in? Frankly, I would really like to know if you believe your own ******? I too wanna help people, which unfortunately requires more than 20 minutes with a patient. Unfortunately still, I have a wife and children that require regular feeding and school debt that accrues interest, and I did not work so hard the first thirty years of my life to live in a trailer and drive a 1978 Civic, as one of my patients suggested. I tried to create an ideal medical clinic and it was! It was wonderful! But patients did want to pay and neither did their insurance company so it went under. So how are you gonna help me? What exactly are you going to do? At what point do you stop talking a good game and actually DO something about it? How about we organize and stand united and say NO MORE! When do we tell insurance company CEOs and big pharma to go to a certain place and perform certain acts upon themselves? I’ve seen the talk. What I haven’t seen yet is any action and certainly no results. Because things have not gotten any better. In fact, they get a little worse every day, week, month and year after year!
Please contact me and I am happy to help you!! This works. No doubt. Check out “business Strategy” section of the blog 🙂