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    Physicians abused, ignored and silenced no more

    Editor’s Note:  The following is an excerpt from a speech given at the Philadelphia County Medical Society during a nationwide “Day of Solidarity” to prevent physician suicide by concerned medical students, residents and attending physicians, led by Pamela Wible, MD, an author and expert on physician suicide.

     

    We come to the MD-allopathic and DO-osteopathic medical physician professions as I did, young, bright-eyed, bushytailed, smart and compassionate, aspiring to do well by helping others. We are independent thinkers, creatively solving problems. We are driven by our sheer force of will, illuminated by our unique individual internal light and guided by our internal compass. 

     

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    Through medical school, internship, residency and medical practice as an attending, there are many dark times caused by external political, power and economic forces that threaten our internal light, force of will and ability to heal. It is generally reported that we lose on the order of 400 physicians to suicide each year, or a physician dead every day. 

    Recent articles written on "physician burnout" miss the point.  Physician burnout is a misnomer, it is the result of externally imposed abuses; to paraphrase Dr. Pamela Wible. In other words, don't blame the victim for the crime. 

    Today, we stand in solidarity against the causes of physician suicide. We must shine a light on the causes and either force them to change or make them irrelevant. 

    Next: Abused by the system

    Craig M. Wax, DO
    The author is a family physician in Mullica Hill, NJ.

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