I talked about the fact that I had become interested in this event during my struggle to get the health care I needed because of my cancer diagnosis. I discovered that people from my section were studying it now. Some stated I was courageous, others, well, others don’t appreciate such outspokenness. A few told me to not participate in the solidarity event. What are they afraid of? I speak out because I dream of a future where residents and students could live without the fear of bullying, harassment, and retaliation. I want physicians to be able to care for others as well as themselves.
I documented the hurdles that I faced in residency in order that I could suggest alternatives to incorporate into a doctor wellness program. I expect that residents who require care such as therapy, in addition to ill residents, can use this app later on. In describing the difficulties that I faced, I quoted the words spoken to me by my attending physician on the day that I was diagnosed with cancer, “You first want to choose whether you are a physician or a patient.”
My program had been punishing me and accusing me of being “unprofessional” for attending appointments despite my telling them beforehand and providing doctor’s notes. On the web page now launched, I stated it was also hard for us to acquire mental health therapy. During my study into this is the case, I discovered cases of other people that have experienced negative consequences following revealing their need. It disturbed me stigma is so widespread in this field. Everyone needs help sometimes, and physicians can get sick. I am not sure folks are conscious of the hurdles doctors face when trying to care for themselves physically and mentally. We can do some thing to stop it when the issue is realized.
Standing up for this is going to be tough. As soon as I started standing up into lifesaving care for my fundamental right, I was repeatedly retaliated against. This retaliation happened after I pointed out the fact had I not received the treatment they punished me for that my physician stated, I would not likely be alive now. Actually did not appear to register with my superiors. I then went into the dean’s office, then to the ombudsman, afterward to the institution’s president. It was a game of hot potato. It was a difficulty passed around the establishment so quickly that no one held on long enough to burn off their hands. It was as if they believed that, when they ignored me, I would go away. I made the decision to go outside of the institution. Later visiting the government that definitely got their focus as not. They stopped blowing me.
I had documentation of everything I had been through because my diagnosis and evidence that my performance was at or above average. Despite major operation, tubes, drains, fainting, vomiting that is constant, and panic attacks I was nevertheless able to be a fantastic physician. I always place my patients’ security and that I really don’t believe there is anybody not even those that voted for my termination. I was both a patient and a physician and even though pressure from previously I received excellent evaluations in my attendings. So did they have excuse to shoot me? I had expected that the dean’s office will look at the facts. They did not. They chose to terminate my job right after the National Day of Solidarity to avoid Physician Suicide volunteer web page went live.
I’m not sure what to do in this stage. Next week I’m advised to have an MRI, and I don’t know whether I will have a paycheck or maybe health insurance to cover it. I know you’ve helped so many physicians, and you are truly an inspiration for me. I trust all that I have been through will jumpstart a change in the culture that is medical that is present. I need physicians to not be made to choose between being a physician or a patient.
Outraged that a physician would be fired by a hospital for having cancer? Appalled that a psychiatric resident would be fired by a hospital for helping physicians? Show your support by attending a vigil.
Image credit: Pamela Wible