Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Physician Suicide--An Epidemic

Pamela Wible runs "The Ideal Medical Clinic". She also is an advocate for prevention of Physician Suicide.

In this podcast, I share insights from a doc who barely survived his suicide attempt plus simple ways to prevent the next suicide. Listen in. You may save a life.





Dear Pamela, I’ve never been so happy to fail at something in my life. Four weeks ago today I died. Cardiopulmonary arrest in jail. Why was I in jail? My wife alerted the police. Sheriff deputies were upset when I did not pull over to talk to them after overdosing. After boxing me in, they threw me from my truck into the slushy street and tased me. After charging me with a felony and two misdemeanors, they nearly provided the perfect assist to my suicide. Through a series of miracles I was brought back. I am missing four days of my life including three on life support, but I am alive. I have to repair almost every relationship I treasure from the betrayal of my weakness, a chore I will perform with as much love and patience as I can muster. I may never practice my specialty again, but I am alive. My family has a husband, father, son, and brother.............


I had just lost a young girl in the ER a few weeks before. Influenza. I followed proper protocol, gave her a couple of treatments and she felt better so I discharged her home with appropriate warnings. Thirty hours later she came back, in respiratory arrest. She ended up on life support with family refusing to withdraw care. They, of course, blamed me. And, of course, complained.
My review was days later. While my employers were very sorry about the case and stated support for me, the result would likely lead to termination due to this incident and a few other cases that were trivial. I thanked them for their honesty. At first my wife and I talked about it, and I was fine. I could likely go back full time where I used to work. I returned to work that night sad, but comfortable with my likely outcome. When I got home in the early morning hours I was just sad. I cried for the girl and her family. I cried myself to sleep and woke up still sad.
There’s a saying we have in the emergency room when we witness trauma and death among the innocent: “A little piece of my soul died.” We’re never offered counseling and in the end you get the jaded emergency doctor who struggles to care. My psychologist says it wasn’t just the last girl. It was trauma after trauma after trauma.
PamelaWibleMD-DoctorSuicideQuote
Pretty sure I have PTSD from the Haiti rescue and recovery trip. From bloated bodies liquifying in the heat to starving kids begging in the street. Years later, walking into a Mexican hotel with similar tiles and stucco walls, I was overwhelmed by the smell of rotting flesh. Other times when opening a large perirectal abscess, I could smell dead bodies.

Sitting alone with my grief, I grabbed what I needed and drove up to the mountains. I thought my wife would be better off without me. I texted: “I’m so sorry. You deserve better. I have tried to be strong. I can’t take it any more. To have that girl die was too much. To have to face being terminated for it? I can’t go on. I’m sorry. I love you to the end of the world and back but after one final hurt, I can finally stop hurting you. You have your family and church to help you and you have your finances taken care of.”
I took a handful of pills with the final thoughts that my student loan debt would not pass on to my wife and at least she has my life insurance to take care of her. Then came the police cars. I don’t know why, except not wanting to talk to them or face my wife, I continued driving. I obeyed all traffic laws, never exceeded 22 mph and in no way endangered pedestrians or other motorists. At one point I pulled to the side, and multiple officers took cover and aimed guns at me. They wanted to know if I had guns, and I told them that they were in the vehicle and they could have them. I kept my hands visible as directed but refused to exit the truck because I did not want to talk to them. Ultimately, I was thrown from the truck, tasered, cuffed, and put in the back of a police car.
commentary:  Police are no longer there to protect and serve...This makes me very angry!
I requested to go to the hospital. I was surprised that they took me to jail. Seemed weird because I thought all suicidal people came to the hospital first. I started to get sick from the overdose. Sweating and nauseated and a little unstable on my feet. They had me sit in a holding cell in the booking area, and that’s the last I remember.
Police need to be trained in communicating with emotionally disturbed people. Police department and authorities are totally negligent and culpable for many events.
Of the next four days I have almost no memory. I am told I went into respiratory then cardiac arrest in the jail and they started CPR. I was finally transported to the hospital, where they got a pulse back. I was critically ill on ventilator support. My family was told I was going to die. Then my sweet daughter found what I took, and the appropriate meds were given. I improved. Couple days later I was off the vent and out of the ICU.
Almost every day, since that worst day, my wife just looks at me and repeats “I can’t believe it even happened!” The people I’ve told about this are utterly shocked. I have spoken with a few residents I used to teach and they can’t believe it. I can’t either.Seemingly without warning. Could happen to any doctor. 

Doctors, Don’t let your job suck the life out of you




Post a Comment