Physicians Share Their Stories
It’s experiences like those as a pediatrician that are both humbling and frustrating because the tools and the training that had traditionally been given to me are unlikely to make a dent in this patient’s overall health and wellbeing in both the short and the long term. I think it’s important as a physician for healthcare to invest in social needs screening and systems to address drivers of health.
“In medical culture we have this myth, the myth of the physician hero, the myth of the physician God, the myth that physicians are perfect, that they don’t make mistakes, that they know everything, that they don’t have bodies, that they don’t get sick, that they don’t need sleep, that they don’t need sick days, that they don’t need mental health care, that they don’t live with diseases themselves; these are all tacit assumptions that are built into the way health care systems are staffed, and the pandemic really shattered all of those myths.”
“It was an experience like no other. I remember initially when our director asked, this was before the surge, when we just started having cases, so when we started having cases in the state and the vans were on the way to set up our COVID teams, and they asked initially for volunteers and I thought about it, and I was like, do I want to volunteer to do COVID? This is a virus that is killing people and we don’t know what this is about. I have two small kids and when I volunteered I said, sure, I’ll do it, I figured it was better to be at the frontline and you know, figure it out because I had a sense that sooner or later everyone was going to be in the fight anyways so I might as well be among the first ones in.”
“Suicide in medicine has been around for a long time, it has been lurking in the shadows because we haven’t dealt with it. We haven’t given ourselves permission to talk about our own mental health, we haven’t had much success in reducing the barriers to access to care and we haven’t been able to advocate for a better designed system. So with National Physician Suicide Awareness Day, my hope is that we can at least take a day to remember our friends and colleagues who have died by suicide.”