I saw a patient last week for her chest pain. A 60-year-old woman came into the hospital because her chest tightened every time she went running. The pain would last about 20 minutes, centered on the left side of her chest, and radiated to her left arm. It lasted until she would finally take a break from running and sit down. “This is classic,” I thought. “Stable angina.” I could now ...

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Pamela Wible, M.D., takes on physician suicide in her TEDMED talk (delivered on November 18, 2015). Learn more about Dr. Wible and her talk at TEDMED.com. Full transcription below: I love the three things that people fear the most: death, disease, and public speaking. Here’s how it all started. At four, I was so talkative (and bossy) no babysitter would stay with me. So I tagged along with Mom, ...

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In the hour after I heard the news, I experienced the full spectrum of typical reactions to a physician suicide. One end of the spectrum came from the attending in a clinic, who when asked if the residents could go home and mourn their friend who just committed suicide, proceeded to tell me a story of how when her grandpa died before a final exam in medical school. She decided to ...

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I’m not sure when it happened, but driving into the parking lot that cold winter day, I knew it had. Tears welled in red eyes, snot dripped out of my nose. I felt so alone and lost. My whole life I’d wanted this -- the drive to the hospital and wondering whether I would change a life. But as I sat in my car, engine off, I didn’t want that ...

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Almost two years ago I went to the funeral of a medical school classmate.  A little more than three weeks before he had jumped from a parking garage after finishing his clinic.  He had a loving wife and three young children. He had the respect of his colleagues and the love of his patients. There was nothing out of the ordinary in his financial or personal life. It didn’t make ...

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Mental illness has long been associated with shame and stigma. Although progress has been made through the efforts of global celebrities like Stephen Fry and many others to de-stigmatize mental illness -- many are still ashamed to admit to it, and the stigma is far from being annihilated. Nowhere is this stigma more entrenched than within the medical profession itself. A fact that should shock us out of our judgmental slumbers ...

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DearPamela

Dear Pamela, Question for you in regards to disclosure about mental illness. In every job that I have applied for, as part of the credentialing process, there are questions about felonies, treatment for drug/alcohol abuse and mental illness. Why are mental health questions still allowed to be on there? I have had postpartum anxiety/depression three times now, and I feel like it is ...

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I know your secrets. I keep secrets for a living. I know about the eye opener before your shift; the Adderall prescribed for your son that you take in the morning; the Xanax a colleague gave you for upcoming air travel that that you take at night; the near DUI that you got out of by showing your hospital badge, the letters "Dr." prominent on the left side; your wife who ...

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You could feel the air rushing out of her lungs and into your face if she was screaming at you. “STOP CALLING ME A WHORE! I AM NOT A WHORE, YOU DIRTY N-GGER!” No one, in fact, was calling her a whore. “DON’T LIE TO ME, MOTHERF-CKER! I HEAR ALL OF YOU CALLING ME A WHORE! I HEARD IT, JUST NOW!” Her best defense was a loud offense that included liberal use of racial ...

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As a mother of three daughters, I frequently find myself singing along to the catchy tunes of Taylor Swift.  Singer, songwriter, and overall superstar Taylor Swift is famous for penning undeniably captivating love songs. She is popular not only because she has the voice of an angel, a cutting edge look, and a fierce attitude, but also because she is honest and real. Taylor has an uncanny ability to put ...

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