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Save The Savers: I’m So Tired Of Physician Suicide

Discussion in 'Hospital' started by The Good Doctor, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Golden Member

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    This beautiful man lost his life to suicide recently. He was an emergency physician and an incredible advocate for LGBTQIA health care. He was funny and bright. He posted almost daily with funny quips, stories from the ER and support for his colleagues. He was a shining star in our specialty, and now he’s gone. I never had the honor of meeting him in person, but I knew him well peripherally. We shared a love of LGBTQ emergency health care advocacy, and I always hoped one day we could meet and collaborate. I had no idea he was struggling. I don’t know if anyone knew.

    How could anyone know? How could he tell anyone?

    But he was happy and funny. But he had so much going for him. But he was a physician!

    He is at least the second emergency physician to lose their life to suicide this week, the week after so-called “Doctor’s Day” — a day that is notoriously ignored or overlooked by the world. A day on which he posted, saying thank you for letting us take care of you.

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    You’re a physician; that’s your job — your calling. You don’t need thanks.

    A decade of training, giving up your 20s to serve the world. Test after test after brutal test. Tests that are used to judge your very worth as a human being, not to mention as a physician. Mountains of debt that feel absolutely suffocating. Pressure to never admit failure or defeat. If you don’t know something, study it. If you can’t do something, learn it. Never make a mistake at work.

    “You know what we do with your mistakes when you’re a physician? We bury them.”

    Don’t you dare struggle at home. Don’t you dare show up to work tired, or sad, or anything less than ready. Because if you do, you might miss something. If you do, you will be seen as a hazard, a risk. That license you worked 12 or more years for, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for? That’s in jeopardy now. So, zip it. Put on your white coat and perform. See every patient on time. Interpret every test. Make life-altering decisions and give devastating news, and then go home to be a happy, engaged parent and spouse. You’re a physician. The buck stops here.

    “But you’re a physician.”

    “But you’re a physician.”

    “But you’re a physician.”

    We are never enough.

    My heart aches for Brian. For his family and those who loved him. For my specialty, my colleagues and for the LGBTQ community who he can’t help anymore.

    Physicians commit suicide at a rate double that of the general population. This has to stop.

    Physicians are human. We are human. We make mistakes. We need help. We need support. We need to be allowed to be human.

    We are tired. So. Fucking. Tired.

    Friends, please reach out if you are struggling. I am always here. You have options.

    Your work may not understand.

    Your friends may not understand.

    Your family may not understand.

    The world may not understand.

    But I do. And I’m here. And I can help.

    And you are enough.

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