Whistleblower’s Wish: Dr. J’s Last Words

The suicide of whistleblower, Jacob Neufeld, M.D., M.P.H.

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Read Dr. J’s story:

Dedicated to Amelia and Andrew and all Dr. J’s kids.
“I’m sorry I cannot see you grow up. You’re gonna be great kids.
One day when you are older you will hopefully understand.” ~ Dr. J

If critically ill kids could make a wish, Dr. Jacob Neufeld would be their dream come true. A wise, quirky man with the spirit of an innocent, loving child, Dr. J could always save the day.

In his mismatched socks and neon shoelaces, he kept kids giggling while helping them in ways no other doc could.

Dr. Neufeld was truly one in a million.

Of the one million US physicians, only a few hundred specialize in severely disabled children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injuries.

As a triple-board-certified pediatric physiatrist, his expertise caring for medically fragile children was off the charts. A pioneer in his field, Dr. Neufeld founded the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine.

Lots of big words to describe the guy kids know as their real-world Superman! (His kids call him “Dr. J”)

When a stray bullet paralyzed a fifth-grader during his piano lesson, Dr. J. made the boy’s dream come true. He left the hospital popping “wheelies” in his wheelchair. Dr. J gave him a high five then waved to his family: “I expect him to go to high school. I expect him to go to college. I expect him to learn to drive an adaptive car.”

Abandoned by his father as a child and without children of his own, Dr. J cared for “his kids” like a doting father and devoted doctor. With X-ray vision he could see untapped potential in all children. A nurse shared:

During a visit with a refugee family, Dr. J told the parents their child was very smart and someday he’d go to college. I watched the family weep tears of joy and hope. Their child going to college was something they never imagined, not only because of their background, but because of their child’s disability.

Dr. J had high hopes for his kids, and he was with them each step of the way.

He gave families his cell number. He did house calls for homebound kids (and their anxious moms). And when God called his little ones home, he was the doc parents called to sit with them and hold their hands as their children passed away.

One day his therapy dog snuck up on the bed to snuggle with a small boy in the last moments of his life. As his pup comforted the boy, Dr. J consoled his mom who later praised him as the “best doctor my son ever had.”

For Dr. J medicine was not a job. Helping disabled kids was his divine calling.

* * *

So why—at the pinnacle of his career—did Dr. J end his life?

Warning: details of psychological violence and suicide may be upsetting.

Unexpected deaths must be investigated, yet most suicides are swept under the rug. Neufeld deserves a case review. In fact, he left us instructions to probe the circumstances leading to his suicide.

As a doctor who studies doctor suicides, I feel a cosmic kinship with Jay. We’re about the same age. We’re eccentric. We’re Jewish, a little neurotic, kind of OCD—and that’s the stuff that makes us meticulous, lost in details others deem inconsequential. As parentified eldest children with absent dads, our altruistic save-the-world intensity may be misunderstood, yet we leave no stone unturned in pursuit of medical justice for our patients.

Jay and I grew up in neighboring South Jersey townships; his funeral just two miles from my childhood home. One week after his death I flew to Boise, the city where Jay hanged himself at home with his dog’s leash.

I was sitting in the living room of the person who sent me this email on September, 29, 2017:

Pamela, a friend from my hospital hanged himself today. Admin has been crushing him down . . . I wish hospital execs cared or understood the part they play in driving docs to suicide. Still pretty raw. I did what I could for him. Still have survivor’s guilt wondering if I could have done more. Jacob Neufeld, age 55. His wife’s birthday is Monday, and her present is to hopefully pick him up from the morgue so he can be buried back home in New Jersey by Wednesday, per Jewish custom.

The email continued:

New boss hated him, or so he felt. Forced him into 10-week therapy for burnout and depression—after they caused it. Mandated into addiction recovery despite testing clean. Despite being cleared to work, when he came back, they’d already packed up his office. ‘I’m done with you,’ his physician boss supposedly told him days before he died. Apparently told him he was not profitable enough.

Caring for disabled children isn’t a big money-maker. To increase profit, hospitals push docs to see more patients. Dr. J’s day was jam-packed—each visit now capped at 20 minutes. That’s three medically fragile kids per hour. Takes 10 minutes to get the family settled in the exam room. Leaning in with his stethoscope to listen to the child, he’d inevitably hear a knock on his door and “time’s up.”

Anxious to spend more time with his kids, Neufeld skipped meals. He’d arrive early and work late. He did house calls and was available 24/7 by phone.

Dr. J’s Crazy socks

Dr. J always made my son laugh. He’d get a kick out of him and looked forward to seeing his crazy socks. My son has limited speech, but Dr. J would always find a way to connect with him. He not only cared for my son, but also for me—knowing I’m a single working mom, he’d always ask if I had any ‘me’ time.

In his “me” time, Dr. J compulsively served his kids by writing articles, publishing research, and editing his journal. To “destress” he began painting—with medical supplies.

“Everyone paints with a paint brush,” he said. “This is a new genre of art!”

One-of-a-kind colorful canvases decorated using syringes, needles, scissors, sponges, swabs—all expired surgical tools discarded by his hospital. His textured, vibrant paintings now grace the foyer of Ballet Idaho and homes of philanthropists who purchased pieces to support his hospital and Make-a-Wish Foundation. All proceeds fulfill his kids’ dreams.

“Wherever the art of medicine is loved there is also a love of humanity” ~ Hippocrates

Dr. J’s avant-garde style rocked Idaho’s art scene. A Boise art studio owner claimed Dr. J’s options were limitless. “Can we say Guggenheim? Can we say Museum of Modern Art?”

When his hospital’s public relations team got their newfound artist celebrated on TV, his new physician boss, a shrewd businesswoman (hired three years after Neufeld), demanded he keep a low profile to fit in. She warned Neufeld if he wanted to keep his job, he couldn’t paint.

Dr. J painting with a syringe

* * *

Understaffing undermines doctor’s dream

Idaho (ranked #1 state for doctor shortages) was desperate for docs.

Dr. Neufeld loved to feel needed and he was in demand. He was a leader at top academic centers from New York to California; and was chief of pediatric rehab at Medical College of Virginia, where he was elected medical staff president of their Children’s Hospital.

In 2012, a Boise hospital courted Neufeld with promises to fund his journal, his research, and fully support him as medical director of their new state-of-the-art pediatric rehabilitation center. Excited to launch Idaho’s flagship program, he and his wife left their beloved community for his dream job.

Upon arrival in spring 2013, Neufeld was Idaho’s first and only fully dedicated pediatric physiatrist.

Dr. J began volunteering at his kids’ events where he became the superdad he never had. When disabled kids were having fun, he was on cloud nine.

Dr. J as Muscular Dystrophy Association camp doctor

One challenge for hospitals is what to do when short-staffed with only one specialist. Neufeld’s employment contract guaranteed he’d not be the only doc on-call 24/7. Then a surgeon parted ways with the hospital leaving Neufeld the only doc in the state who could manage baclofen spinal pumps (for patients with severe muscle spasms).

As Neufeld’s program was expanding, he’d been voicing more urgent concerns to hospital leaders about dangerous understaffing that left him working 24/7/365 indefinitely without backup. His pleas to hire more specialists were ignored. So Neufeld had little choice but to consult his attorney about holding his hospital accountable for contract violations risking his kids’ lives.

Why would a hospital endanger patients by not hiring enough doctors?

Physician executives know how to work physician employees into the ground. Having escaped the patient-care rat race, execs sleep well knowing Neufeld’s work ethic keeps him up all night. Even if worn out. And if he makes a mistake, he’s liable, not his boss.

Getting one doc to do the job of two or three is a huge financial win. A hospital can save millions by intentionally not hiring physicians to help Neufeld.

In early 2017, Neufeld alerted his boss months before a prescheduled weekend trip. He confirmed, per his contract, his hospital would ensure a doctor was there in his absence.

Landing at the airport, Neufeld’s cell rang. One of his kids was hospitalized with a baclofen pump malfunction. When he discovered they’d not hired a temporary doc, he managed the crisis by phone as he flew back to Boise. Thankfully, the boy stabilized in the ICU. Dr. J sent him home the next day.

Spring 2017 on contract renewal, Neufeld got a 30% pay cut while still on call every second of every day for thousands of fragile children. His focus wasn’t money, but patient safety. He called his boss to demand a case review of the ICU near-miss.

When Neufeld entered her office, she locked the door behind him. Inside were three administrators (likely coached by hospital attorneys, common amid employee disputes). Neufeld was denied a case review. He was given a choice: sign his new contract or be sent to a psychiatrist to determine if he was “impaired.”

Ambushed, pressured for an answer, Neufeld was stunned. Certain he’d be deemed competent, he agreed to their coerced psychiatric exam.

* * *

Physician whistleblower retaliation—more common than patients know

I’ve spoken with lots of docs ensnared by false impairment charges.

Ethical doctors are so painfully naïve; they just can’t think like criminals.

In the “underground playbook” lawyered-up hospitals use against do-gooder docs, all that’s needed to silence a “problem” is an impairment allegation.

One false allegation can end a physician’s career.

On what might they base their allegation?

If Neufeld raises his voice about understaffing, he might be labeled “disruptive”
and sent to anger management classes.

If Neufeld can’t complete chart notes during 20-minute visits, he might be labeled “inefficient”
and sent to a documentation course.

If Neufeld feels fatigued, be might be labeled with “burnout” and be told to complete “resilience” modules.

Of all words that blame doctors, the most damaging is “impairment.”

An impairment allegation is a fast and tidy way to destroy a whistleblower (without getting blood directly on your hands). On allegation alone, a doctor must stop working, may not practice elsewhere—and is guilty as charged in the eyes of the medical board.

Idaho’s medical board must protect Idaho patients from unsafe doctors. An “impairment” allegation means Neufeld must “voluntarily” agree to a “confidential” evaluation that’s neither voluntary nor confidential—or lose his license.

His hospital required Neufeld’s evaluation by Idaho’s physician health program (PHP), a company claiming to specialize in addiction and substance abuse—neither were problems for Neufeld.

In April 2017, Neufeld submitted Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms, then called the PHP for return-to-work clearance. He trusted he’d get evaluated in town and be back at work in a few days.

After a brief intake (partly via text), Idaho’s PHP (located four miles from his hospital) recommended Neufeld fly 2,115 miles to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for a weeklong hospitalization in May at their “preferred” addiction center, even knowing there was no basis for addiction treatment and thousands of Idaho children would lose their only doctor.

Why send Neufeld to Mississippi?

To get rid of him. To shut him up.

A truth-speaker, Dr. Neufeld spent his life defending the most vulnerable (likely to cope with hidden anxiety and powerlessness he felt as a vulnerable child). So Dr. J knew how to fight for rights of disabled kids. He didn’t know his alleged “disability” meant he had rights under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for misuse of fitness for duty exams. All compulsory fitness exams/treatments must be paid by employer. Yet Neufeld (and his insurance) would soon pay for his own emotional and financial extortion in excess of $100,000.

To protect his fragile patients, he resisted his out-of-state exam—until threatened he’d lose his job. Fearing for his career, he acquiesced.

* * *

Mississippi medical smear campaign

Shocked by how quickly his career was derailed, Neufeld reluctantly boarded a plane leaving family, friends, and his kids (with no doctor!).

Perplexed, Neufeld wondered: Why must he fly to Mississippi for clearance to return to work in Idaho? Who would care for his kids in his absence? Why was his boss so hostile? What the hell was happening to him?

He was being psychologically groomed to accept the unacceptable.

I know others entrapped in the same facility by their state PHPs for sham evals that include polygraphs. Some describe their time as involuntary civil commitment under threat of career destruction.

Unanimous one-star Google reviews warn:

It is common to receive multiple diagnoses that may not be accurate. Any attempt to discuss their reasoning behind such diagnoses and you’re ‘in denial.’ I was not depressed before I came to this place, but I’m struggling with depression now. They’ve been allowed to continue treating health professionals in this abusive, draconian manner because most of us are too terrified to say anything if we make it out and back to our home states.

May 1, 2017, Neufeld was assigned an addiction psychiatrist known to be “curt, non-empathetic, and lacking intellectual integrity” in a rehab survivors call a “mind-twisting, gaslighting horror show.”

When asking his psychiatrist to protect his confidentiality, he was told to sign all consents or be reported noncompliant to his medical board. Entrapped, he “voluntarily” signed to waive his confidentiality.

Two weeks later, his boss had what she wanted in her hot little hands—his “neuropsychological” report. Inside colleagues praised his skill and compassion, yet his boss (mandating his bad-faith exam) claimed he was absent-minded, prone to errors, and failed to recognize social cues. Hazardous understaffing was ignored by his addiction psychiatrist who declared Neufeld unfit to practice medicine. His “recommended” treatment: a six-week hospitalization back at their own addiction facility.

Knowing he’d lose any future in medicine if he refused, Neufeld was forced to abandon his kids with no doctor for months while bored out of his mind in Mississippi.

Upon arrival May 31, 2017, he got little attention from staff (clearly an unneeded hospitalization at an addiction facility). Toxicology tests were normal because, of course, he had no addiction. Yet he had to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Other than a few weekly confrontational sessions on “boundary violations” and work-life balance, he was ignored. [Curious how unqualified staff with community college certificates thwart a doctor’s career? The husband of a physician who died by suicide in a PHP reveals their scheme.]

Mississippi victims report:

This is an unbelievably backwards ‘treatment center’ in the Deep South that compels behavior through implicit threats of diagnostic abuse . . . incompetent greedy uncaring twisted dehumanizing sadomasochistic. . . non-MDs cherish breaking doctors down . . . They ‘hold the cards’ by threatening to not clear people to return to work or regain their licenses . . . I saw many people fall apart. Fight to the death with your board to go to another place. It is psychologically destabilizing and can ruin your career and life. Run away if you can. Run. Run. Run.

A doc who ran out of money after paying $100,000+ cash described it as “adult babysitting” without activities or learning.

Sitting idle, Dr, Neufeld began studying for his upcoming recertification exams. His substance abuse counselors reprimanded him for studying as a distraction from his “therapy.” He feared losing his certifications, yet if caught studying he’d be reported “noncompliant” and lose his license.

With his hospital staff privileges suspended beyond 30 days, he’d now be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, effectively blacklisting him from future employment.

His counselors did permit Dr. Neufeld to start painting as a way to explore his feelings.

“Impatience and physician health program anxiety” by Dr. J

Overwhelmed by his captivity, he drove an hour to New Orleans for dinner (he did not drink). Upon disclosing his absence, Dr. Neufeld was scolded. He was told this was the type of behavior that led to his hospitalization.

“New Orleans dinner disobeyed direct orders” by Dr. J

His hospitalization was lengthened by a month.

After 71 days (more than 10 weeks) Dr. Neufeld was discharged August 10, 2017.

* * *

Finally permitted to practice medicine—conditionally

Neufeld’s PHP contract required years of surveillance. To return to work, he must (1) secure a “worksite monitor” to oversee him during all work hours; (2) get retrained on baclofen pumps; (3) ask his boss for permission to care for any child with a baclofen pump (neither his boss nor addiction psychiatrist mandating retraining have expertise with spinal pumps). To practice pediatric physiatry, Dr. Neufeld must (4) begin marriage counseling (both he and his wife individually and together); (5) keep regular work hours; (6) never volunteer for committees; (7) attend Emotions Anonymous at least once weekly; (8) never share cell number with families; (9) maintain appropriate boundaries; (10) complete monthly Boundary Violation Index (Focus is patient sexual boundaries. For an ethical doc with no sexual misconduct, motive is to stop house calls.); (11) review “boundary violation” results monthly with therapist; and (12) return to Mississippi twice yearly for weeklong recheck.

In other words, he’d be tethered to their addiction center indefinitely and could never be the doctor his kids and families so loved and admired.

His report made no mention of hazardous understaffing, yet claimed Neufeld blamed others, avoided accountability, and “might still face challenges recognizing and respecting authority.” He was diagnosed with “mild major depression” and declared a narcissist and rigid perfectionist with trouble delegating. To whom could Neufeld delegate as the only pediatric physiatrist? Not addressed.

In Mississippi, Neufeld began to feel suicidal, yet was declared not to be suicidal by a marriage therapist who wrote his addiction center discharge weeks before his suicide.

On August 10, returning to his hospital he found his possessions packed in boxes he was prohibited to access. While on job-protected FMLA, his replacements were recruited—two pediatric physiatrists (one hired August 11 another in October). Neufeld was demoted as medical director and told if he failed to comply with each return-to-work order, he’d be terminated.

In numbed disbelief, he signed his outrageous return-to-work agreement.

* * *

Underground playbook to drive a doctor to suicide

Rather than address understaffing endangering kids’ lives, hospital leaders in concert with Idaho’s PHP, and their “preferred” Mississippi addiction center silenced Dr. Neufeld with an onslaught of 17 unfounded allegations:

Secret playbook for targeting a physician whistleblower

In the minds of hospital execs are strategies to destroy “problem” docs. I’ve listed their motivation for each allegation to illustrate how good docs are framed as “impaired.”

Psychologically paralyzed, Dr. J was too unnerved to fight for patient safety. End goal: whistleblower self-destruction (even by suicide) while perpetrators of psychological crimes remain hidden.

Countless docs have suicided in so-called “health” programs (see TV investigative report). A survivor recounts:

You will begin to question your sanity. Techniques are based on humiliation and shame . . . underlying philosophy is total emotional and psychological destruction. It took every ounce of strength not to leave here a broken human being. . . Physicians have taken their own lives after completing ‘treatment’ here.

“My best friend there killed himself two days after I left,” another physician reported. “I saw the staff systematically break him down until he had no personality or emotion. He was a shell after the public humiliation.”

Psychological strategies to disable Neufeld included: (1) enforcing social isolation in Mississippi to disrupt his life and career; (2) giving false hope then inflicting repeated disappointments causing self-doubt about future; (3) eroding self-confidence with reputation damage, work failures, marital distress; (4) gaslighting so victim questions own sanity; (5) requiring incorrect treatments for unsupported diagnoses with unneeded hospitalizations causing mental breakdown and/or psychosis—so disbelieved victim accepts persecutor’s agenda.

Neufeld’s character assassination may have been initiated by one person, then handed to the state-board-sanctioned “health” program that detains whistleblowers behind “a facade of protecting the public.” Groomed by his captors’ reassuring phrases, “We’ll help you get back to work” and “Just sign here,” doctors fall into their lethal trap. Finally, docs are duped into funding their own destruction with “Isn’t your license worth $100,000?” (services are self-pay in violation of ADA plus fraud isn’t generally covered by insurance).

Weeks before his suicide, Neufeld sought a second opinion. His Boise psychiatrist found no basis for surveillance and told Neufeld to cease PHP treatment. He declared Neufeld fit for duty.

Three days before Neufeld’s suicide, his boss supposedly told him, despite his psychiatrist’s work release, they never intended Neufeld’s return.

After complying with his groundless 10-week hospitalization, Dr. J lost his program, reputation, and career. Ripped away from his kids, not permitted to help them amid his impossible surveillance contract, he lay grief-stricken in a fetal position on the couch.

Heartbroken, Dr. J lost his career—and his kids.

Minutes before his suicide, Dr. Neufeld recorded this video:

In the end I do blame everything on the mismanagement for handling of this whole thing by my hospital. I was clearly triggered by their closing of my office. That put me in a downward spiral. I’ve been fighting to get better. I just can’t seem to overcome the disappointment, shame, my own failure, and my inability to communicate the deep pain that I feel from my failure, my depression, my burnout, the lack of help. It’s clearly documented that there was no call coverage for my patients for years. It was just me. There was no help at all. I just don’t have any more desire, I don’t know why. It’s like it was all sucked out of me. They wouldn’t let me go back to work. There was no coordination between med staff and administration and it just kept dragging on and on and on . . . Please God help me. Please God forgive me. Forgive me for all my sins. Forgive me for all my transgressions. I did not hurt anybody. Nobody died. There were no serious mistakes. This is all an overreaction. Yes I was depressed and burned out because I was the only person. I just can’t keep going on like this. I don’t understand exactly why I’ve gone into this depression.

Menticide is organized crime against the mind—a methodical stripping away of Jay’s identity until he apologized for being himself and begged for forgiveness.

* * *

Assembly-line medicine—unsafe at any speed

Speaking up for patient safety, I was fired like Jay. Stripped of my professional identity, I became suicidal.

As a new doctor, I had to see 28 patients per day. Four per hour. If two didn’t show up, I’d get a sticky note on my door, “we added two more patients on your schedule tomorrow.” Meaning I’d be “double-booked” in two slots, each with two people scheduled the exact same time. When a doc was out sick, I was double- and triple-booked all day. I saw nearly 50 patients!

An informal survey of family docs asked, “How many patients can you see per day safely?” The consensus: 11.

By patient 12, most docs are so emotionally fried they tune out.

My friend, seeing up to 95 patients per day, was skipping meals and up all night finishing charts and billing due within 24 hours. If delinquent, he’d be declared inefficient. To escape, he attempted suicide.

To increase profits, hospitals push volume while replacing registered nurses with nurse’s aides, physicians with physician assistants. The few docs still standing have packed schedules and must supervise their “assistants.”

Can’t hack it? Leave. By resignation, termination, retirement, even suicide.

Or ascend the corporate ladder as a physician executive.

An executive’s job is to execute. Meaning both carry out an order and carry out a death sentence. Hospital executives carry out orders that have led to deaths of patients—and doctors like Jay Neufeld.

Some physician executives are executing their own physician employees.

I consider Dr. J’s suicide a homicide.

Capital punishment—since he didn’t generate enough capital.

* * *

Justice for Dr. J

Jacob Neufeld died a broken man. He never grasped the game plan among hospitals, med boards, and PHPs. He never read the secret playbook that killed him.

Hearing Jay’s voice pleading for forgiveness, I yearn to tell him: You’re not at fault. You were tormented to death.

Jay, I now know 25 doctors who died by suicide under the care of these “health” programs. I’ve summarized concerns in my letter to DOJ.

With your job-protection rights under FMLA, ADA, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act violated; your patient safety concerns ignored, you were harassed with false diagnoses in a bogus hospitalization to remove you from the program you built. By obstructing your return to work, your physician supervisors left you with no will to live.

Multiple people and their “preferred” programs created the circumstances leading to the disintegration of your life. In so doing, they abetted your suicide.

Jay, had you died in India not Idaho, those responsible for your suicide would have been arrested immediately (like three physician supervisors who abetted Dr. Tadvi’s suicide) per Section 306 Indian Penal Code Abetment of Suicide with imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Those who abetted Dr J’s suicide remain at large. The principal perpetrator moved to another hospital and changed her name, presumably to hide past misdeeds.

* * *

Dr. J’s last wish

Due to the actions of a few, thousands of kids will never see their beloved doctor’s smiling face again; thousands of future patients were robbed the opportunity to feel safe in Dr. J’s caring hands. His grieving family still in anguished sorrow and confusion about the real reason he died by suicide.

And that’s why I’m writing this. To resolve confusion for those blessed to know and love the man who walked the earth as Jacob Alan Neufeld.

And to help those who abetted his suicide learn from their misdeeds. I pray for your enlightenment.

Dr. J’s wish spoken in the final moments of his life:

Hospitals have to do a better job at helping the doctors. We are being left out. We are being disposed of. We are being minimized. Administrations don’t communicate. They put down dictums. And I hope someone will listen to this in the future and learn from it. There definitely needs to be an investigation by the Joint Commission, a root cause analysis by the hospital association. My hospital has clearly failed and people need to understand that you have got to help more doctors. That you can’t treat us this way. It’s cruel. It’s unusual. It’s not fair. And, yes, life is not fair. I hope that maybe someone will pay attention to this because I don’t want more doctors to do what I am about to do.

While his wife was at her “therapy” session (a return-to-work order by his employer), Dr. J hanged himself.

* * *

Dr. Jacob Neufeld truly cared for thousands of medically fragile kids every minute of every day. The fact that he did so 24/7/365 alone with no major mishaps or deaths means Dr. J was truly Superman.

His impairment charge was his kryptonite.

Even Superman can be broken. His savior complex born of childhood abandonment was his superpower that ultimately overpowered him. When forced to abandon his children, Dr. J lost his dream and could not save himself.

What allowed his kids to thrive wasn’t just his scientific skill; Dr. J had another superpower—he could make dreams come true.

Shortly after settling in Boise, he invited his mom to visit. A nurse gave her a big hug and shared how in just a few weeks, Dr. J inspired two children to make a wish—and he made both their wishes come true!

Dr. J made countless wishes come true.
Now it’s our turn to make Dr. J’s wish come true.

True heroes never truly die; Dr. J lives forever in the hearts of all children he inspires.

YOU can make Dr. J’s dying wish come true!

1) Share Whistleblower’s Wish on social media and with your doctor

2) Sign Physician Whistleblower Protection Petition

3) Inspired to do more? Contact Dr. Wible

💕 Thanks to all Dr. J’s family who have helped bring his Whistleblower’s Wish to life 💕

Pamela Wible, M.D., is a suicidologist who runs a free doctor suicide helpline. She investigates doctor suicides and eulogizes victims to ensure their lives are celebrated. Dr. Wible performs psychological autopsies and provides postvention crisis support to prevent future suicides.

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50 comments on “Whistleblower’s Wish: Dr. J’s Last Words
  1. Anonymous says:

    This should be publicized in all media on earth. CNN should make a documentary on this, as this goes well beyond the disgustingly inhuman treatment of a single US physician, but is a reflection of the disgustingly inhuman treatment of all US physicians.

  2. Sara O’Heron MD says:

    This is all too sad and true…physicians are systematically being eradicated in the name of corporate agendas, and have also vilified those of us who made medicine a passion. May he be remembered well in the book of life and stand as a beacon for those with a moral compass to take action.

  3. Rita Losee, ScD, RN says:

    I have followed your work for years, Dr. Wible. After reading this article, I am suffused with great sadness. From where I sit, it seems that the conditions that led you to your work have gotten much worse since we connected. God bless you and send you strength.

  4. RAkhi Pal says:

    Your life has not ended for no purpose. Very soon America will fight against victimized physicians for their rights.
    Simply because this can’t be happening in most developed country in this world.

  5. Brent S. says:


    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Ooooh Brent you never wrote anything in your comment. Please try again and also sign & comment on petition here.

      • Brent S. says:

        I can attest that his description of MS. is 100% accurate. This treatment of professionals can not be allowed to go on. I know from experience that this place and others like it are destroying physicians and other doctors. There is zero accountability and, fixing that, is just the start.

  6. stefan semchyshyn says:

    Unfair, corrupt state medical boards must not be allowed to get away with by protecting unfair, discriminatory practices. It is very likely that the fat cats are in cahoots with the larger players and in order to protect their turf they neglect their real purpose for existence. When I exposed the egregious retalitory medical activities, I was told by the medical board to “Go elsewhere if you don’t like it here”.

  7. Bryan J Treacy MD says:

    I am fully aware of the facility in Hattiesburg of which you speak. I was a captive there for three months in 2018. The cruelty, character assassination, verbal abuse, and psychological warfare perpretated there is similar to stories from others who’ve been subjected to this unfounded nonsense across the country. All I got from the Professional Enhancement Program was a solid case of PTSD, suicidal ideation, and despair. It is ironic that this physician actually completed his exit from this world at the same exact time I was contemplating it. Fortunately, I survived but it took me 5 years to recover from the experience. And I did that by learning medicine. Happy heavenly BD Dr. J.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Bryan, I did not realize you were also captive at the same facility. Please do share your experience as a comment on the petition here. Don’t forget to sign petition and share with all your friends from Mississippi. Are you all in the same PTSD recovery group now? Please let me know if you need help with recovery as I do have a PHP Trauma Recovery group held every Sunday at 6 pm ET.

  8. Steven A. Reid, M.D. says:

    Great reporting, Dr. Wible!

    The “System” benefits from its massive inertia, and simply does not want to change.

    I’ve had friends who underwent PHP semi-voluntary stays. Most PHPs owe their DNA to drug rehab programs, and they tend to use a one-size-fits-all interventionist model. I don’t have the statistics to prove this, but it seems that once captured by some of these systems it will be years, if ever, until the physician is free of obligations to the program in order to maintain licensing. This is one of many reasons why doctors rationally do not seek the care they desperately need when caught in the maelstrom of depression.

    I admire your courage and commitment!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Oh Steven thank you! Good to hear from you and time we take national action. Please do sign petition here & consider leaving your comment above on the petition site. For Dr. J’s birthday today.

    • Dana Widdison says:

      I absolutely agree and would like to add that fear of being identified by a “problem” rather than all the excellent work one does keeps those who need just some support, recognition, and compassion from coming forward. When does taking an antidepressant constitute a possible danger to patients. I would rather be seen by a provider that sought help and support than one hiding their depression, anxiety, insomnia, other conditions. Let’s get real about mental health!

  9. Rachel Neufeld Del Rossi says:

    As Jay’s sister, thank you for your passion and drive to get his story out there. I believe your efforts might stop other doctors from taking their lives, which was one of Jay’s last wishes. Kudos to you, Pamela! Thanks for making a difference– like Jay did, and continues to do.

  10. Naomi A. Gaines says:

    As Jay’s sister, Thank you for all you are doing to shine light on this horrific, unfortunate reality in the medical community. Love you forever Jay and miss you.

  11. Mary Johnson MD says:

    NC Middle District (Federal) Court.
    24 cv 241

    The testimony of a medical whistleblower – abandoned on the government’s own patient safety/QA battlefield to bleed out – on multiple occasions.

    No who is supposed to care, cares. No one who is supposed to help, helps.

    The suits rule. Doctors need help. We need it now.

    The Federal government needs to take a long hard look in the mirror.

  12. Jay E. Valusek says:

    Dear Dr. Wible:

    I confess, until receiving a link to this heartbreaking story in my email today, I had never taken a look at what you do. I agree, by the way, that what happened to Dr. J is more homicide (or at least wrongful death) than suicide. He was, by no means, “self-destructive.” Everything he did was self-protective . . . right up until they stripped his life of everything that mattered.

    I just wanted to say that I deeply admire what you’re doing and saying, and especially that you manage to keep doing it year in and year out. What’s more, I realize, all too sadly, that each of the physician stories I’ve seen on your website, so far, fit perfectly with the “Social Pain and Entrapment” theory of suicide, which I am currently striving to condense from the egregiously obfuscatory literature and get down on paper, in plain English, for the rest of us.

    The only thing that bothers me (as it does every time I try to imagine what one, or I, or society can actually DO about the pernicious, persistent causes of suicide) is that: I don’t see any solution apart from burning down Western civilization’s murderous fixation on, as you so eloquently put it, “capital punishment,” as in capitalism’s vicious, soulless punishment of anyone and anything that doesn’t willing bow down to the economic slavery imposed on, well, all of us, by those with power and infinite greed.

    Unless we literally change everything about our greed-and-money-driven civilization, I’m afraid we’ll just keep grinding people up and spitting them out.

    That’s what’s so frustrating to me, even though I believe I finally understand suicide and it’s social causes: There’s no changing the whole world, the bloody foundation of our entire society; and it just keeps getting worse.

    Ironically, it was the medical (and mental health) professionals, who held my daughter’s life and mind and body in their calloused hands, who drove her to suicide in much the same way (albeit with considerably less violence and hatred) as your Dr. J.

    She was “driven” to suicide by her physicians and psychiatrists, who first, diagnosed her as mentally ill (when, in fact, she wasn’t; she was, primarily, sleep deprived) and then punished her for being mentally ill by stripping her of her job as a Peace Corps volunteer, her adopted home and family, her friends and colleagues, her hard-won community, her life’s dream, her whole sense of belonging, meaning, and purpose–all, “for her own good.”

    So, yeah, I can answer the WHY question–and reading your story about Dr. J–it’s obvious that so can you. BUT, SO WHAT? (If I may succumb, for a moment, to my own cynicism.) How do we actually prevent the next suicide? Can we? Really? Can we save people before it’s too late, if we can’t literally stop those who inflict such horrific social pain and injury on us all?

    As an emerging, independent suicidologist, my goal is not so much to prevent suicide but to try, in its eviscerating aftermath, simply to “make sense” of it, on behalf of those of us left behind. I have no idea how to reform or even make a freakin’ dent in an entire society that perpetuates social pain as a matter of business-as-usual. It’s utterly deflating.

    In fact, since I lost my own job (at a hospital! ha!) after my daughter killed herself, I’ve made little to no progress even reaching anyone anywhere with her story.

    I sent a copy of my book about her life and death by suicide to the current Peace Corps director, asking to meet with her to discuss their medieval mental health policies, but, of course, I never got any reply whatsoever. They’re still harming applicants and volunteers, discriminating against so-called mental illness, with impunity. There was even a petition, signed by at least 1,000 people, calling for reform, which, alas, accomplished exactly nothing–the Peace Corps was even sued for discrimination, and, you guessed it, nothing happened.

    I’m rambling, sorry. I just wanted to say I so appreciate what you’re doing, even your dedicated “reporting” as a physician journalist (as a writer myself, I get how demanding it can be just to research, document and write a single story, like Dr. J’s). Hence, of course, I’m happy to sign this petition.

    Kind regards,

    Jay E. Valusek, MS, MEd
    Independent Suicidologist & Suicide Bereavement Specialist
    Author of Girl of Light & Shadow: A Memoir of My Daughter, Who Killed Herself (2022)
    BPS Health Strategies LLC
    Longmont, CO

  13. Mary Britton says:

    As a patient, medical education professional, Cultural Competency Subject Matter Expert, Professional Medical interpreter and medical anthropologist, former Board Member of the Oregon Patient Safety Commission, Former Chair at OHSU Simulation Department Diversity Committee and mother of a sick child whose disease has been ignored by Medicine I am here to testify that the current model of Medicine as practiced by corporations that value profits over lives is inhumane and unconscionable. It must change. Doctor’s – all medical professional’s lives must be valued and their practices should not be forced to fit corporate “metircs”.

  14. Frank V McL Booth says:

    And we used to consider that the so-called re-education camps prevalent in countries with authoritarian regimes were unique and “couldn’t happen here”

  15. MD JD says:

    I met this family, and everything in this rendition reflects what they told me about Jay. He could have been Patch Adams; yet rather than receiving accolades and being portrayed in movies by the likes of Robin Williams, he was (illegally) forced to pay for restrictive and psychologically abusive inpatient treatment in a facility then managed by a physician who lost her license for “boundary violations”, followed by what would have been years of invasive and unwarranted monitoring. For the crime of caring, while on call 24/7 for years running. Meanwhile the malevolent hospital administrator who colluded with the PHP to get him there changed her name, and is celebrating her management methods in another state in the region.

  16. Samson Cournane says:

    My mom was a physician whistleblower to protect critically ill children. Now I’m facing a SLAPP lawsuit by a billion-dollar healthcare conglomerate because of my petition: https://www.change.org/p/good-healthcare-workers-need-your-help

    I would appreciate support.


  17. AJ says:

    Good morning! I also have been following nurse suicides . Something must be done we are losing excellent clinicians and the quality of health care is tanking.

  18. Judith B. Mizrahi says:

    I am dismayed and saddened to learn the plight of Jay Neufeld. May this never happen again to anyone anywhere at any time. My heart is with Jay’s family and with whistle blowers who are condemned for their efforts to correct injustices in the world. May the hospital administrators improve their quality of care!

  19. Judith B. Mizrahi says:

    I am dismayed and saddened to learn the plight of Jay Neufeld. May this never happen again to anyone anywhere at any time. My heart is with Jay’s family and with whistle blowers who are condemned for their efforts to correct injustices in the world. May the hospital administrators improve their quality of care! May these wrongs be “righted.”

  20. Witheld says:

    I have already been labeled “disruptive” and “unprofessional “. This happened in an all hands on deck meeting when I politely questioned the newest addition to our never ending list of tasks. My concern was for patient safety – that adding more tasks to an already full schedule of things we are required to do, manage, answer, and are responsible for, would put patients at risk- because there is only so much we can pay attention to at any one time, and I was afraid we could make a mistake and endanger a patient… immediate retribution. And this is at a Veterans Administration clinic!

  21. Debra Celec,DO says:

    The sacred relationship between the doctor and patient has been decimated by corporate medicine.

    They know exactly what they are doing.

    The triad of corporate medicine, big pharma, and government have destroyed the art and science of practicing medicine.

    To stop this, we’ll have to begin with the indoctrination process on becoming a physician.

    As a retired physician, I am heavy hearted 💔 about Dr Neufeld’s tragic story and so many others on the edge of hopelessness.

    Petition signed.

    God Bless you, Pamela!

  22. Kernan Manion MD says:

    An exquisite tribute to Dr. J. and toward honoring his dying wish. Thank you Pamela for taking the time to delve into his life and life’s mission so deeply. And for having the audacious courage to speak the truth about his death at the hands of the out-of-control corporate healthcare / state medical board / so-called physician health program (PHP) complex.

    This enterprise operates in full collusion with the AMA, APA, FSMB, FSPHP, and state medical societies. Because of their preeminence and ‘pull,’ and of course presumed integrity, they have convinced state legislatures to give them wide sway (and even immunity) in unilaterally declaring, via rigged fitness for duty evals conducted by dishonest PHPs and their cronies, physicians as “impaired” and sending them to their rapaciously costly and psychologically abusive “preferred programs.” And they have essentially silenced state governors and attorneys general in conducting needed oversight, investigation, and enforcement.

    It is now time that we must bring this horrifically abusive program and its enablers into full view. We must confront this scourge, a conspiratorial collusion of self-interested powerful entities whose joint funneling of physicians into this profitable “impaired physician” racket amounts to extortion and torture. It is a racket in which there is no due process and from which there is no escape.

    It is also well known that this regulatorily-capturing enterprise has its sights on all other professions requiring state licensure and that it desires to set up similar mandatory referral streams. “Go along with the [rigged] eval or we kill your career.”

    Because of the taboo surrounding suicide, Dr. J. did not get the visibility his entreaty needed. The pain of suicide, and the all-to-frequently accompanying “hush-hush” embarrassment, is too great for loved ones.

    You took the time to deeply explore his life, talking at length with family members, reviewing abundant materials, and listening to his entreaty that physicians, and leaders, must do something to halt this abuse.

    And you revealed a new understanding, that his suicide was not really a self-chosen course of action but death by brutal, repetitive psychological assault and unbearable moral injury.

    Thank you for taking the time to honor Dr. Jay Neufeld.

  23. Pamela Brunswick says:

    This is Truly Horrific and so sadly rings true and parallels with too many of my own personal experiences in the workplace as a health professional.
    This is actually Manslaughter in my interpretation of the hideous behaviours, unrelenting sadistic treatment and the devastating result being this dedicated doctor’s loss of life.
    My heart goes out to his family, friends, colleagues and patients.
    RIP Dr.J

  24. Anonymous says:

    It’s really sad. I would like to present another doctor a well-known cardiac surgeon, 49 who ended his life by a gun in a shooting range in country Czechia, on April 19th, 2024. He shooted 99 bullets before the final one into his head.
    On official sites no news about it, only a sudden death, only on a tabloid site some real mention about it.


  25. Sue Antonopoulos says:

    Jay was incredibly talented and deserves the attention to this very worthy cause. You are forever in our hearts

  26. Anonymous says:

    Too many similarities to my story. Except in the end eventually decided to leave medicine, change careers and I’m a lot happier. Reading stories like this makes me really upset. Unfortunately, this man’s story is not unique.

  27. Dean Germer says:

    These case studies are truly horrific.
    I have been a treating VA Psychiatrist for more than 20 years. Love my job despite a few speed bumps along the way.
    I strongly recommend a career with the Veterans Administration.

  28. Valerie Armstead says:

    If you are “in trouble” as a physician or anybody whose job is threatened, GET A GOOD EMPLOYEE RIGHTS ATTORNEY!
    This was the best advice I got from my beloved mentor, who did this & prevailed. Talk to physicians* who have sued the system & won.
    I have gotten so many calls from people in Dr. Neufeld’s situation because I am a survivor of the systems that try to destroy those they mistake as runts.
    Maybe I missed this in this sad story. Was an attorney outside of the system consulted? Talking to a GOOD attorney should make you feel better immediately because they are about helping you survive the crisis.
    I have advised this for many physicians who are being gaslighted & they made it through the fire.
    I did this, won & I am even stronger.
    You deserve what you tolerate. Anyone who advises you to go along to get along is NOT on your side.

    *…or anyone. Having a good representative is key.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Was an attorney outside of the system consulted? YES

      Going outside the system may be related to the retaliation.

  29. GiniaDavis says:

    This needs to be brought to light and US physicians should be protected from this from happening.

  30. T. Hoffman says:

    Health care in the US has become a rat race for doctors and patients. we should make sure stories like Dr. Neufeld don’t become the norm

  31. Lin Woodrich says:

    Something must be done! I agree that Pamela must expose this inhumane treatment. She is the perfect person to do it!
    The woman who caused Dr. J to lose his profession – and life – must be found and prosecuted so she can’t continue with this behavior.

  32. Ken says:

    This is so sad for all the victims involved. I worked as an RN for St Lukes at one of the larger hospitals & have to say this doesn’t surprise me. They put me through the ringer as well & was termed for not taking the Covid shot. This intimidating behavior & lack of proper resources has become the norm in most larger hospital administrations. The people at the top couldn’t care less for their employees or their PATIENTS! I wish the public really knew how things work & what really happens in these organizations 😔

  33. Scott says:

    It’s hard for “good” people to believe that other people are not also “good”. And that our esteemed leaders and institutions too often don’t have our best interests in mind, but money and power.

    But really, we shouldn’t be so surprised.
    Jesus said, John 10:10 NAS, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

    The devil has had thousands of years to hone his craft, he is an expert liar and manipulator. And he knows our vulnerabilities better than we do. In contrast we only have a few decades which is another reason why we need, not religion, but a functional relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Religion, mans attempt to please and appease God. Was born with the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, and mans solution of hiding from God and wearing fig leaves. Jesus came to earth to live and die as a sacrifice. Not to start a new religion, but to be the only means of restoring the relationship between God and man.
    Rev. 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

  34. T Vonda says:

    I was forced to out of state, twice, for six weeks each time for “treatment” during a deteriorating marriage. I had to sit around in a circle of drug-addicted physicians and say, “Hello, my name is ___ and I’m an alcoholic/heroine/cocaine addict” (Take your pick) The other physicians would laugh at me. The program said I would have to stay the entire six weeks if I wanted them to “advocate” for me with my hospital board to get my privileges back. After six weeks I returned home. My wife was gone and had taken our children because I could no longer “provide”. Thank God for ONE friend who took me in and helped me get back on my feet. I never practiced medicine again.

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