A physician shares his suicide survival story with me. The 51 words that saved his life.
Hi Pamela, Here is the text that prevented my suicide:
“Hey I’m so sorry about your patient. That sucks. I’m very thankful that we have you as an excellent otolaryngologist to learn from. You take care of so many sick patients and do a marvelous job educating us how to do it safely, skillfully, and compassionately well. Thank you for that.”
It’s been a particularly hard year for me. But I’m surviving.
Thanks for all you do Pamela.
I shared his text as closing slide in my keynote last weekend on creating a culture of wellness among orthopaedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and veterinarians. Concepts apply to all specialties and professions.
After interviewing male physicians who survived suicide attempts, I discovered the average time between their decision to die by suicide and the moment they grabbed their gun, pills, scalpel (or method of choice) was–3 to 5 minutes.
Average time it takes to type a text message—less than 1 minute.
Your best and fastest way to save a doctor’s life may be a text message.
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If you need more proof of the lifesaving impact of your words, read this:
RIPPLE EFFECT: Never underestimate the power of your words to travel 8,158 miles to inspire a random woman 991 days later. I just got this email today—nearly 3 years later!
“Hello Pamela, On 3rd November 2017, I was seeing an orthopaedic back surgeon, Dr. Gary Speck in Australia (where I live). While taking my history he discovered my daughter would commence Medicine the following February (2018). Instantly he told me of an article he had read that very morning and said it was a must read for my daughter. He kindly printed a copy for me to take home. The article is: Loyola Commencement Speech ‘Live Your Dream.’ My daughter is about to commence her 3rd year of a 6 yr medical degree at the University of Adelaide here in Australia. She has been home for the holidays and she still has the article. I asked if I could read it and she said yes but I’m taking it with me. I want to thank you for this article. Gary gave it to us because he thought it important to share your message. While she is still 4 yrs from being an intern, I love that she values your advice and that you inspire her. Keep being the amazing woman, doctor, mentor you so obviously are. Love from a very grateful mum/mom downunder in Australia xxxx”