The Reality of Physician Suicide

Article about Dr. Steven Ortiz (1966-2017)

This is a sad part of the job. We forget that physicians are actually humans too. On an average day, they are dealing with 20-30 patients in the office who may have a variety of significant health problems, 20-50 patients calling in with questions, 20-50 requests from other health institutions, and a rising number of regulatory pressures. At the annual wellness visit, I often advise that the day has to be divided into three parts, 8 hours for sleep, 8 for professional productivity, and 8 for play. Everyone knows that physicians are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to healthy routines: 30-hrs of being awake every second to fourth night during a 3-5 year residency; sporadic eating habits, skimping on exercise... Then after all this, a physician comes out and faces the firing squad of hospital officials (why didn't you complete your charts on time!?), disgruntled patients, soulless insurance companies, and what is the upshot? There comes a point, where the physician takes his own life to avoid the pain. It is naive for the system to continue ignoring this critical problem. It is also absurd for physicians to continue challenging themselves to astronomical standards. Dr. Ortiz did not need to drive his patient to home and take an hour-long cab ride home, he did not have to return from Vacation to operate on the patient. There were so many warning signs along the way, and yet, the system made it so he would bare the burden. If you are a physician reading this, please take time for self-healing. Unless a life is in danger, don't volunteer yourself for the railroad track. If you are a patient, please cut physicians some slack and try to help them improve their practice instead of shooting them down. If you are a friend or family member of a physician, understand that it may all look rosy on the outside, but there may be time for you to perform an intervention if you see some warning signs of burnout; be bold! If you are anyone else in healthcare who has a deadline, a quota, or a motive, please understand that stepping on physicians should not be your way to achieve your goal; it's sure to work, as you can see below, Dr. Ortiz was the epitome of empathy and giving, so the strategy is going to work, and you will get to your goals, but I hope that you understand you have contributed to the nationwide physician suicide problem. Go out there and help someone today Harmony!

#manythanks#muchlove #hhmd4life #suicideprevention #preventsuicide#physiciansuicide #physicianburnout #burnout #preventburnout#bestyounow #takecareofyourself #bekindtoyourself #begoodtoyourself#love #loveeachother #bestrong #behealthy #behappy #beharmony #bewell#youdoyou #usetheforce Glendale Adventist Medical Center Adventist Health Dignity Health - California Hospital Medical Center Glendale Memorial hospital emergency Los Angeles County Medical Association Keck Medicine of USC Huntington Hospital

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Dr. Emil Avanes Physician Director at Harmony Health MD

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