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  • Physician Suicides

    Just learned about the book Physician Suicide Letters Answered by Dr. Pamela Wible on Kevin MD. Has anyone read it? I am thinking about buying it and wondering if it is worthwhile for someone who is not a physician. Always trying to learn as much as possible about our clients and what made them who they are. Is there truly a endemic "dark side" to the medical profession? Is the bullying, sleep deprivation, and fearfulness in medical school as pervasive as it is made out to be? WCI and the posters here seem fairly upbeat and positive but I realize there are thousands more who read and do not post.
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

  • #2
    I have not read the book. I have read some stuff on kevinmd about physician suicide.  It is higher in female docs.. I had a friend from residency who suicided his first year in practice.  He was gay and closeted and in an abusive relationship.  Very sad.  Depression itself has a 10% mortality rate I believe I read somewhere.  Depression is very common in docs.  It is easy since you know what to take to get the job done so to speak.  My friend overdosed himself with insulin.  He was not diabetic.

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    • #3
      I am not familiar with the book, but I have read posts written by the author, who is an authority on the topic of physician suicide.  A fellow blogger and radiologist wrote about his experiences,  linked here @ KevinMD, having now lost 2 of his former medical school classmates to suicide by age 40.

      I believe the rate for male physicians is similar to male non-physicians, but for female physicians, the suicide rate is twice that of non-physicians.

      In recent years, the measured / reported burnout rate has been climbing fairly rapidly. I'm not sure if it's due to worsening conditions, better recognition, a willingness to accept and admit burnout symptoms, or a combination of all of the above. I pray the increase in burnout does not come with a concomitant increase in depression and suicide. I'm sure Dr. Wible and others will be keeping a close watch.

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      • #4
        Medicine (the entire process starting at pre-med (and possibly earlier)) is an unforgiving field.  Situations can arise frequently where people feel trapped, hopeless, God forbid have an unsupportive program director or one that has it out for you.  Whats worse is we don't talk about it ourselves.  Also concerning is that medical licensure requires one (at least how it appears to be worded) to be free of any disease to be able to practice. That mental illness (such as Bipolar Disorder) and psychiatric hospitalizations can have implications on licensure status. So people keep to themselves and quietly end their lives.

        What I recall in reascent times is the suicides of 2 residents in NYC who jumped to their deaths. Those that carry out their suicide have made a decision that suicide is the only option left. This is what is concerning.  Physicians should have other options on their mind, but we all know how unforgiving our culture can be.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/05/opinion/why-do-doctors-commit-suicide.html?_r=0

         

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        • #5
          I find Pamela Wible's underlying cause to be very true and concerning, but I think she's a bit overstated by saying we're abused...I mean, sure, some are, but saying it as a rule is a bit extreme. She's a bit...kooky, too, I guess

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          • #6
            I don't think the book will be very useful to you in dealing with physicians.

            I just looked up the numbers. On the list I found,  physicians lead the pack with a rate 1.87  times the average.  Dentists are second with 1.67, lawyers are at 1.33 times, and real estate brokers are at 1.38 .

            So,sure doctors are higher, but the numbers aren't that much worse than for other professionals.

            NOTE:  Finance workers are at 1.51, fourth on the list, just behind veterinarians.

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            • #7




              I don’t think the book will be very useful to you in dealing with physicians.

              I just looked up the numbers. On the list I found,  physicians lead the pack with a rate 1.87  times the average.  Dentists are second with 1.67, lawyers are at 1.33 times, and real estate brokers are at 1.38 .

              So,sure doctors are higher, but the numbers aren’t that much worse than for other professionals.

              NOTE:  Finance workers are at 1.51, fourth on the list, just behind veterinarians.
              Click to expand...


              I found the link you found, listing the suicide rates of professionals. The numbers quoted are only for white males.

              CBS had a story 2 days ago, based on CDC data. Health care workers were 12th most likely out of 20 occupations to commit suicide according to the study. Midwest farmers are the most likely.

              The data seem inconsistent. How many actual suicides are officially reported as suicides? It's tough to know, really.

               

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              • #8


                I found the link you found, listing the suicide rates of professionals. The numbers quoted are only for white males. CBS had a story 2 days ago, based on CDC data. Health care workers were 12th most likely out of 20 occupations to commit suicide according to the study. Midwest farmers are the most likely. The data seem inconsistent. How many actual suicides are officially reported as suicides? It’s tough to know, really.
                Click to expand...


                I like your study better than mine.

                My unfounded opinion is that doctors aren't particularly likely to commit suicide.   The study you cited has results more consistent with my expectations, and likely used better methodology.  It looks like blue collar workers are more likely to commit suicide.  I wonder if it's income related.

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                • #9
                  I'm not sure how much more often physicians attempt suicide than the lay public, but I do know their success rate is dramatically higher. No surprise. Docs actually know what will and what won't kill them.
                  Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                  • #10
                    Haven't read the book but that lady is super dramatic on her blogs on kevinmd and kevinmd is kind of a cesspool for super dramatic and whinny doctors in general. So personally I don't think that's an accurate representation.

                    I'm all for the fight against the man in the current medical environment but many docs just have a hard time understanding that our profession isn't immune to 90% of the crap that other people put up with too.

                    Yes it's not like the old days but it's not all doom and gloom too.

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                    • #11




                      Haven’t read the book but that lady is super dramatic on her blogs on kevinmd and kevinmd is kind of a cesspool for super dramatic and whinny doctors in general. So personally I don’t think that’s an accurate representation.

                      I’m all for the fight against the man in the current medical environment but many docs just have a hard time understanding that our profession isn’t immune to 90% of the crap that other people put up with too.

                      Yes it’s not like the old days but it’s not all doom and gloom too.
                      Click to expand...


                      That's a helpful perspective. I had the impression that KevinMD was highly respected in the medical community and I appreciate a different POV
                      Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

                      Comment


                      • #12







                        Haven’t read the book but that lady is super dramatic on her blogs on kevinmd and kevinmd is kind of a cesspool for super dramatic and whinny doctors in general. So personally I don’t think that’s an accurate representation.

                        I’m all for the fight against the man in the current medical environment but many docs just have a hard time understanding that our profession isn’t immune to 90% of the crap that other people put up with too.

                        Yes it’s not like the old days but it’s not all doom and gloom too.
                        Click to expand…


                        That’s a helpful perspective. I had the impression that KevinMD was highly respected in the medical community and I appreciate a different POV
                        Click to expand...


                        I cant stand his site or most of his takes (which is an admittedly small n since I dislike most posts and its months between visits), seems very sold out and not for any of the good reasons like just being paid a bunch of money (which makes sense), legitimately believes some of that stuff it seems.

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                        • #13
                          I've published a few pieces on KevinMD for the exposure, which has been good for my site. Mine aren't of the "woe is me" variety, but yes, that is a theme that is probably the most likely to get clicks. The titles are always changed to be more clickbaity. I get why (and here's why!) but the titles sound monotonous like a machine sucked up a creative title and spat out a cliché.

                          The site does rank as quite a bit more popular than this one according to the Alexa rankings. Misery loves company?

                          My next article to be posted soon @ KevinMD I called "We Were Promised Death Panels." I'm curious to see what the site does with that one.

                          Best,

                          -PoF

                          Comment


                          • #14




                            I’ve published a few pieces on KevinMD for the exposure, which has been good for my site. Mine aren’t of the “woe is me” variety, but yes, that is a theme that is probably the most likely to get clicks. The titles are always changed to be more clickbaity. I get why (and here’s why!) but the titles sound monotonous like a machine sucked up a creative title and spat out a cliché.

                            The site does rank as quite a bit more popular than this one according to the Alexa rankings. Misery loves company?

                            My next article to be posted soon @ KevinMD I called “We Were Promised Death Panels.” I’m curious to see what the site does with that one.

                            Best,

                            -PoF
                            Click to expand...


                            Every time I visit the posts always seem to be of the nature of "its not so bad, heres how to get in line and take it". I guess I've only read about political things like value based pay or board certification, etc....the tone of those articles is the same behavior that got us to our current dilemmas, no thanks.

                            Comment


                            • #15







                              I’ve published a few pieces on KevinMD for the exposure, which has been good for my site. Mine aren’t of the “woe is me” variety, but yes, that is a theme that is probably the most likely to get clicks. The titles are always changed to be more clickbaity. I get why (and here’s why!) but the titles sound monotonous like a machine sucked up a creative title and spat out a cliché.

                              The site does rank as quite a bit more popular than this one according to the Alexa rankings. Misery loves company?

                              My next article to be posted soon @ KevinMD I called “We Were Promised Death Panels.” I’m curious to see what the site does with that one.

                              Best,

                              -PoF
                              Click to expand…


                              Every time I visit the posts always seem to be of the nature of “its not so bad, heres how to get in line and take it”. I guess I’ve only read about political things like value based pay or board certification, etc….the tone of those articles is the same behavior that got us to our current dilemmas, no thanks.
                              Click to expand...


                              I think the Here's How to Bend Over posts are a small minority compared to the It's Time For a Change type posts. I think he tries to present both viewpoints for comparison.

                              I was pleasantly surprised today to see the title of my newly published We Were Promised Death Panels post appear with its original title (they usually get dumbed down and include the words "here's how").

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