Saturday, September 24, 2016

Physician suicides, courtesy of our profits driven medical industry.

(originally posted September 17th, 2016)
These past few days I’ve been spending my spare time trying to learn more about Dr. Tom Horiagon MD, MoccH and his conflict with the Colorado Board of Medicine, or more accurately with some powerful bureaucrats who seem to think they are above the law.

One of the things I was curious about was why he become involved with Colorado Physician Help Program (CPHP) in 2011 and then with the Center for Personalized Education for Physicians (CPEP).  Embarrassingly someone like me, who knows little of the state of today’s medical industry, might first suspect drug or alcohol dependence.  It had been gnawing at me so I wrote him another email asking him about it.

His answer blindsided me: 

In 2011 I was an intensivist at St Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction and I worked hours that were so intolerably long, I was not getting home for days on occasion, needed IV's to remain upright and that sort of thing.  I wrote a letter to my colleagues at Western Colorado Lung Center stating that my condition was deteriorating and I needed a change in schedule or format or contract or something.  My colleagues took the letter to St. Mary's Hospital administration who immediately convened a committee to try to find something wrong with my patient care.  

They worked in secret for year and finally presented me with a list on concerns never raised before (except one I discussed), and initiated a quasi-legal process to exclude from the hospital staff and report me to the state board.  I became suicidal, never had an attorney help, and "lost" the fair hearing.  I started making pretty significant suicide efforts and I reached out to CPHP for help.  I closed my practice and moved back to my home in the Front Range.

Later he added:

Physician suicide is VERY frequently precipitated by these board actions (see Pam Wible MD or Michael Langan MD or Kernan Manion MD on this topic).

That sent me back to the internet and the only way to describe what I found is to share it.  I keep thinking this is what the corporate obsession with profits has achieved for USA’s medical arts.  Time to make a course change, reject the corporate mindset with all it's ills and refocus medicine on healing !

 Vote Yes On Heath Care Reform Amendment 69

400 Doctors Commit Suicide Every Year

Published by PhysicianForFairness on May 14, 2014 | < 3 minutes

Dr. Pamela Wible from Oregon explains that 400 doctors commit suicide every year. 

 sent Dr. Horiagon a copy of this before posting it here and received the following reply which is worth adding before continuing.  

I find it further indication of Dr. Horiagon solid good character and professionalism.

"Go with it.  Please note that after all these events, I became certified in sleep medicine.  
To my knowledge, I am the only physician simultaneously certified in occupational medicine and sleep medicine.  
This point adds to the irony."

Physician Burnout

(Visit: Elizabeth Bromley, MD, PhD, reviews recent data on burnout, depression and suicide in physicians, with particular emphasis on the work-related factors that appear to contribute to physician distress. Series: "UCLA Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds" [Health and Medicine] [Professional Medical Education] [Show ID: 28597]

 Elizabeth Bromley, MD | Aug 6, 2014 | 53 minutes

Physician Suicide: 
The Role of Hopelessness, Helplessness and Defeat.
Michael Lawrence Langan, MD | Jun 23, 2016

Although no reliable statistics yet exist, anecdotal reports suggest a marked rise in physician suicide in recent years. From the reports I am receiving it is a lot more than the oft cited “medical school class” of 400 per year.

This necessitates an evaluation of predisposing risk factors such as substance abuse and depression, but also requires a critical examination of what external forces may be involved. What acute and cumulative situational and psychosocial factors are involved in the descent from suicidal ideation to planning to completion? What makes suicide a potential option for doctors and what acute events precipitate and trigger the final act?

The Physician Wellness Movement and Illegitimate Authority: 
The Need for Revolt and Reconstruction

Physician Suicide and “Physician Wellness” –Time to start talking about the elephant in the room!

Michael Lawrence Langan, MD

Why Are Doctors Plagued By Depression And Suicide? A Crisis Comes Into Focus

By Judith Graham |  07/22/2016

A sense of angst was rattling students at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. One of their peers had taken his life days before.

Professor Mikel Snow felt the dark undercurrent and knew he had to speak up. So, for the first time, he told his students about his decades-long struggle with depression. As word spread, students across the campus started contacting him to discuss the suicide — and to share their own psychological distress.

“The reaction has been astounding,” Snow said. “It crystallized that this is a much bigger issue than any of us really realized.”

Suicide among medical students and doctors has been a largely unacknowledged phenomenon for decades, obscured by secrecy and shame.

Do No Harm - a film project by Robyn Symon

Do No Harm exposes the toxic medical culture that puts doctors and patients lives at risk.

Published by symonprod on Jun 22, 2016

Exposing the silent epidemic of physician suicide and a broken medical system 
putting doctors and patients at risk.         

Humanizing medical education: How to grow a happy doctor


Overworked Doctors May Jeopardize Patient Safety
By Rachael Rettner, MyHealthNewsDaily on January 29, 2013

A new study finds that 40 percent of physicians in hospitals report that, at least once a month, they took on more patients than they could safely handle. The results suggest that hospitals need to evaluate doctors' workloads and create standards for safety

Burnt Out Primary Care Docs Are Voting With Their Feet
By Roni Caryn Rabin April 1, 2014


The Impossible Workload for Doctors in Training
By PAULINE W. CHEN, M.D. date published APRIL 18, 2013 


Doctors Are Human; They Need Sleep
Clinical Psychologist; Board Certified Sleep Specialist


Reigniting burned-out physicians
By Elizabeth Whitman  | August 27, 2016

Despite training for years to take care of people, doctors often forget about one vulnerable population: themselves. This self-neglect is bad for patients, doctors, hospitals and the practice of medicine overall.

A voluntary program that's catching on in Colorado hospitals helps physicians build resilience and recapture the sense of fulfillment that led them to medicine in the first place. The methods are simple, but the participants say it has significant benefits for doctors and the hospitals where they work.


Kernan Manion: Attacking a doctor’s due process
January 5, 2015 | KERNAN MANION, M.D. | WILMINGTON
The Dec. 24 news article “Program to help troubled doctors” on proposed legislation pertaining to the N.C. Medical Board’s affiliated Physicians Health Program and the state auditor’s findings was incomplete. If there had been nothing seriously wrong with operational procedures, why would both the medical board and the health program go through so much effort to change them? And why go behind the scenes to change the very laws protecting due process that they were both found to be breaking?

Wilm. doctor files whistleblower lawsuit over treatment of PTSD
Posted: Aug 23, 2012

Dr. Manion is a board certified psychiatrist. He currently has an office on Eastwood Road in Wilmington.

In 2009, Dr. Manion was hired by Spectrum Healthcare Resources and Nitelines Kuhana JV LLC, two healthcare contractors, to provide psychiatric treatment to members of the military who recently returned from combat duty. Many patients suffered from PTSD or TBI (traumatic brain injuries).

According to the suit, Dr. Manion believed that he was "under constant pressure from his superiors to rate patients as acceptable for deployment…even in circumstances where patients were diagnosed as posing a violent threat to themselves or others or were dangerous for combat deployment due to the presence of a significant mental illness."

The suit claims that Manion's supervisors at the DHC were "grossly deficient" in their responses to acts of violence he witnessed by some of his patients.


1. This action is necessary to protect the property and due process rights of Plaintiff Kernan Manion, M.D. (“Dr. Manion”) who has been, and continues to be, damaged due to the arbitrary and unlawful application of summary suspension procedures by the North Carolina Medical Board (“NCMB”) that result from intentionally and/or negligently abusive practices by the North Carolina Physicians Health Program, Inc. (“NCPHP”) and Warren Pendergast, M.D. (“Dr. Pendergast”), and other common law, statutory and constitutional violations more fully detailed herein.

Deeper thoughts on the art and science of doing good medicine

Being Mortal.    Atul Gawande

Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician, Sandeep Jauhar

Danielle Ofri, an internist at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, reports in What Doctors Feel.

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