Robyn Symon is a two-time Emmy Award-winner, and an accomplished writer,

producer/director, and editor. She is the producer and director of the documentary film, Do No Harm, about the healthcare system that drives us to take our lives.

We discuss how prevalent physician suicide is and how the real numbers and demographics are so difficult to track. We talk about the difference between paying lip service to change and what changes may actually help. We also talk about how the current coronavirus epidemic will make more apparent how overtaxed and overburdened many physicians really are. There will be an upcoming virtual screening on April 19 (see below).

 

Ms. Symon began as a television news reporter in Texas, then joined PBS in Miami where she hosted and produced documentaries, public affairs programs and the TV series Florida! (6 seasons; Travel Channel). She wrote and produced the docu-series “Voices of Vision,” which focused on the work of non-profit organizations worldwide. She has produced hundreds of hours of TV series for major cable networks including Discovery, CNBC, HGTV and currently produces a series on the Reelz Channel.

DoNoHarmFilm.com

Virtual Screening

WHEN: Sunday, April 19th at 8 PM EST/7 PM CT/5 PM PST

WHERE: FOR TICKETS: ZOOM WEBINAR LINK https://zoom.us/webinar/register/8715849795868/WN_x–X68dnR_i6_kTXvCyVFA

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Disclaimer: This is the transcript to the episode. This transcript was created by a talk to text application and the function of having this here is to improve the page search engine optimization. This transcript has not been proofread, so please listen to the episode and don’t read this. The information contained herein will inevitably contain inaccuracies that affect that quality of the information conveyed and the creator of this content will not be held liable for consequences of the use of the information herein.

Robert diamond is a two time Emmy Award winner and an accomplished Writer, producer, director and editor. She’s the producer and director of the documentary film do no harm about the healthcare system that drives us physicians to take our lives. We discuss how prevalent physician suicide is, and how the real numbers and demographics are so difficult to track. We talk about the differences between paying lip service to change and what changes may actually help. We also talk about how the current Coronavirus epidemic will make more apparent how overtaxed and overburdened many physicians already were. There’ll be an upcoming virtual screening of her film on April 19, and see her website do no harm film calm for details. Miss Simon began as a television news reporter in Texas then joined PBS in Miami, or she hosted and produced documentaries public affairs programs in the TV series, Florida. She wrote and produced the docu series voices of vision, which focused on the work of nonprofit organizations worldwide. She has produced hundreds of hours of TV for major cable networks including discovery, CNBC, HDTV and currently produces series on the real channel.
Welcome to the physicians guide to doctoring A Practical Guide for practicing physicians. Dr. Bradley Block interviews experts in and out of medicine to find out everything we should have been learning while we were memorizing Krebs cycle. The ideas expressed on this podcast are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not represent those of their respective employers.
And now, here’s Dr. Bradley Block.
Robin Simon, thanks so much for being on the podcast.
It’s my pleasure to be here. Thanks, Fred.
So let’s start with the hard numbers. how frequent is it that a physician dies by suicide?
The numbers that are used by suicide experts is about 300 to 400 a year but it’s really underestimates because many of these suicides are listed as accidental and planned as extra as accidental overdoses or car accidents. And so the families of the physicians and the hospitals, and you know, the medical community are not eager to say this was a suicide. So we don’t really know it could be three or four times that we just we don’t know. But that’s what the experts are saying three to 400. And, and they say that mid career physicians have the highest rate and women attempt more than men but male physicians are more successful if you use that word. Yeah, at suicide, but mid career. We see when there are a lot of factors that come into play. It could be, you know, a malpractice food that threatens your financial security, your inability to pay off alone, ruins your reputation, your job to be at risk, and you have a family. And it just, you know, leads physicians to make what they feel is a logical choice, a logical solution to the problem.
Yeah, that actually doesn’t surprise me that it doesn’t surprise me that it’s an underestimate because, as physicians, right, we also recognize that if you die by suicide, your family can’t collect your life insurance. And so if you are going to do it, you do it in such a way that it does not appear to be a suicide so that they are able to collect I can see that being a very calculating thing for you know, a physician just the way that’s that’s the way we think we’re very pragmatic. Yes. So where does that put us compared to other professions?
Well, you know, near the top is not the top when I was working on the Film Editing, which was about a year and a half ago, because we’ve been on the film tour for about a year and a half positions had the highest rate of suicide among all professionals, and almost twice the rate of the general population. So it fluctuates, you know, from year to year. And because we don’t really know the true numbers because of the stigma of suicide and mental health in general. We don’t really know but let’s just say it’s
towards the top if not at the top. That’s interesting. Yeah, I do. I do not when I was a medical student, when I was applying to medical school. I do not remember that being on the brochure I you know, they put those shredding. They put those short white coats on us and say welcome to the club, and something that they neglect to tell us is that That, you know, here’s this short white coat. Every patient you see from now on could be something a diagnosis that you could miss and get wrong that ruins your life and could be something that haunts you for the rest of your life and affect them for the rest of their life. And by the way, we have one of the highest if not the highest suicide rate of all professions. Here’s your white coat. Right? Yeah, I do not remember that being something now. Gustin medical school. That being said, it has been a while, since I since I graduated. So you know, I know this. The schools have evolved. And they’re including more,
they’re still around. They’re still not saying that. No, that’s still not part of the tech talk. Yeah. for new students. Yeah. Because another big issue is statistics. You know, we’ve been trying to find out statistics on the rates of depression and anxiety among medical students. You We know that when they go into medical school, they’re normal or above normal. And when it comes to mental health, and within a year, they have a 25% increase in severe depression and anxiety. So, medical schools don’t want to do these anonymous surveys, because if they have to show their statistics and other schools don’t, would it leave them at a competitive disadvantage? So in the film, there are parents who, you know, were blindsided by what happened to their perfect son. And when he died by suicide, they turned their grief into action, and worked to try to get legislation passed that would force medical schools in Missouri to reveal their Or surveys for depression and anxiety. And at first, all the medical schools killed the legislation. And then they tried again. And finally, you can see in the film after much effort with the help of a very brave state representative who also have position, they finally were able to get it passed. But no, it’s the transparency is not, not the top of the list for medical schools and hospitals. Quite frankly,
that’s interesting that you say you said that they start that we that physicians or rather medical students start out with with mental health that is either consistent with the national average, let’s call it or even better than the national average. But I would think that dying by suicide would be there’d be a higher incidence among high achievers So how do you I don’t know how to juxtapose those two ideas. Right?
Right, you would think so, but their emotional state and they are perfectionist, yes, there, there may be some emotional aspect of, you know, them being perfectionist, OCD, or whatever. But this isn’t a generality. This is a survey of them being above normal. So that’s what we know. But there are ways to mitigate those rates. And it’s St. Louis University in the film, they did a pilot program, and we’re able to reduce pression and anxiety by like 20%. So it was down to 4%. And it wasn’t that difficult to do. It didn’t cost that much. But the most important thing is these young med students, this is the foundation for their career positions. So the whole premise of the film is that, you know, if you don’t have a doctor who’s mentally invested Physically functioning? Well, you can’t provide good quality care. So this is something that affects, you know, all of us. What was
it that St. Louis University did? What were the changes?
Uh, it was a combination of small things. So, for example, they went to pass fail, which, you know, step one,
and I would say that’s a big deal. I don’t think that’s a small step.
That’s a big step. Now, they’re all doing it. But at that point, there were only like 20 schools that did it. They provided they got rid of classes that were too difficult. And they gave their students time off. They extended holidays like thanksgiving for the students to go home. And they and they provided them an opportunity to do charitable work in the community. So they felt fulfilled. Not just you know, with their heads in the book. And they also did, you know, a small resiliency program. But it was the combination of these things. And of course, you know, anonymous counseling, a combination of all these things that really work. So you have a lot of hospitals now that are doing what I call bandaid approaches to improving wellness among physicians going online and do this model. So in the AMA website,
you know, the the irony of having to do medical having to do additional model modules additional work. Yeah, it’s incredible.
More, it’s incredible. And so when there’s
a lot of it’s mindless clicking Yeah,
mine was and what does it do if you don’t complete it? It makes you feel worse. Well, Wow, I can’t even do these modules, you know, for resiliency and burnout. So that’s not the solution. The solution is looking at systemic changes. That should be made to allow physicians to perform at their best, whether that means providing more support people, whether it means, you know, dealing with the EMR system that, you know, nobody seems to, like, time off, you know, dealing with a sleep deprivation, whether it’s dealing with the stigma of mental health, providing anonymous counseling, there’s so many systemic things that should be done, but not these meditation and yoga classes. And certainly, when you have bad outcomes with a patient, you know, they should be providing regular support, like support groups, every two weeks for physicians, and you could you should drop in and if you’ve had a bad outcome, lost a patient, you drop in, and it should just be part of the program. Not like, Oh, well next Wednesday at 230 The Chapel if you want to talk, we’ll have a psychologist there for you. That’s basically what’s happening in many programs. It’s like lip service to wellness programs. And it’s just not good enough. And that’s why we don’t see the change that we should be seeing because it’s very meager attempt to support physicians. So when when you can be establishment when you confront the establishment about this, right,
who is the establishment who’s
who’s in charge here?
Like who do we? Who do we even go to?
Well, really, you know, it’s a hospital system, you know, if you work at a hospital, but there there are a lot of groups involved. So for example, the medical board the medical licensing board, the questions in many states, not in New York, they changed it, but in in many states, the questions that they asked on that licensing board exam to get relicense or license in the first place. about mental health needs to change. They asked you just filled out that form. It’s still there. There was a question that was asked, Do you remember?
i? Honestly, I don’t remember. I don’t remember exactly how it was phrased. But I definitely had to check some box about make you feel uncomfortable. No, but just given that I have this podcast, I am more aware of that question than I otherwise would have been. You know, like I, as someone, you know, I don’t have any diagnosed mental health issues. So in the past, I would have just checked that off. But, you know, this this, one of the benefits of hosting this podcast is it’s made me a little more attuned to issues like this. And so yeah, when I had to fill it out at it, I understood why people would not come from forward with their mental health issues because now they’re having to check this box and you know what checking that box means Yeah, right. There’s gonna be a whole lot more that comes down the road that’s gonna make it harder for your license renewed. If you if you check yes on that box so I just you know, I just I don’t remember specifically how it was phrased but I’m definitely more to that
needs to change because this positions you don’t have the right and should be encouraged to seek mental health counseling there there on the front lines and we see that now more than ever people are finally starting to see how important positions are you know, there’s so much anger and anger towards positions you know, between the patient and condition relationship has deteriorated so much, but,
and everyone right now who’s on the front lines dealing with the Coronavirus, right the the ICU doctors, the hospitalists, the palliative care physicians, the ER doctors, the anesthesiologist, the pulmonary physicians that all of these doctors that are like neck deep in Coronavirus right now are should, should all have easy access to counseling because of what they’re going to leave they’re getting there really
is these these now we’re getting the respect that they have deserved all along. But I really fear that when this who’s done or when this was passed that day, those on the front lines are not going to have access to mental health counseling. I mean, this is like a war. And they will be suffering from PTSD. Many of them already have PTSD from losing patients. But you know, But I fear that it’s just going to be business as usual. And no mind is going to be paid to what they’ve gone through emotionally. And it’s going to be a big problem. And I just fear, you know, look suicide is, you know, what the end result gets a lot of attention. But there are just a lot of people, a lot of physicians suffering deeply with depression and anxiety. And there’s a lot as you know, self medicating. And, you know, I come from a family of physicians, but as a patient, you know, I want my doctor to feel great, and be at the top of his or her game. So we need as a as a society to wake up and understand that physicians are human and that they deserve emotional support because they’re human, just like firefighters and police officers. They’re on the front lines. They they have they have a sense of camaraderie that physicians don’t have. It’s not encouraged for them to get together. They fight fires together. We treat patients fire sensing. Exactly. So yeah, I have a big fear about what’s going to happen after this is over. So, yeah, we’re going to talk about it. Never that never a discussion that we’re going to have after the virtual screening on April 19. I know that a
virtual screening right now. Well, it’ll be in the show notes. But let’s plug the virtual screen.
Well, here’s how this happened. Because we were planning a we’ve been on a film tour for almost two years since September 2018. And we’ve had about 170 screenings at hospitals, medical schools, medical countries. foods like ASAP, and APA and many, many others. So we had a host spring, you know, live events at hospitals and conferences. And of course, with COVID-19, everything was just cancelled. But I people really wanted to see this film. So I said, you know, let’s have a virtual screening with a panel discussion. And so the film is heavy, like it’s about suicide and burnout. And it’s like, why do we need, you know, to talk about this, we’re already you know, barely surviving here. But the panel discussion is really going to focus on how this pandemic has impacted not only the healthcare worker, not only the physician but their family to what they’re going through emotionally, and what needs to happen. So we’re advocating for let’s not forget when this is over We need pork for physicians. It shouldn’t be business as usual. So that’s what I hope the focus of the panel discussion will be. First of all, what trends we’re seeing with Dr. Pamela Wible, who you know, is the physician advocate. She runs a hotline for physicians and medical students, a doctor called Puri, who does like Chi trust at UCLA. And he’s also a writer on the Chicago Med series. And parents who are featured in the film who lost their son Kevin to suicide. So we’re going to talk about what kind of numbers and calls the Pamela’s getting on her hotline. And, Paul, for us, it’s like high interest. We’ll talk about the impact on physicians families, and how they can cope best I mean, there’s a lot going on with separation of families because the physicians don’t want to infect their family. So you’ve seen the stories they’re sweeping into And in basements or not even at home where they’re sending their families away. So they’re coming home to empty homes. It’s just, you know, it’s a very scary time. So we need to, you know, deal with the fallout afterwards.
Yeah. And I think it’s, it’s important for the physicians that are going through it to realize that I’m sure as they’re going through it, recognizing that, that they’re, they’re not the only ones that are feeling this way. Right. They’re not the only ones that are having these thoughts. You know, we are we’re a community and we’re a tribe, as physicians,
that’s, that’s really the message of the film, you know, you are not alone. You’re not weak, because you’re feeling depressed or anxious or afraid. Even you know, before this crisis. You’re not alone. You’re You’re not a weak link, as the professional would like you to think because you know, there’s cutthroat competition starting in medical school, so the the message of the film is you our community, and we have to support each other. And it’s not you. It’s the system. And we need to change that
when you show this movie to physician audiences, what tends to surprise us because I think we understand, right? That we’re under a lot of pressure, right? We have to see a ton of patients, we have to chart correctly. Every patient could be a landmine of a possible, you know, an error that you can make sure you do everything perfectly, and yet they still come back and sue you, and then you’re staying late to finish your charts, financial pressures to pay back your loans. You know, you get home and then your family needs you and you feel like you’ve given everything at the office. Right? I feel like physicians, we we understand this. I’m not saying that I mean don’t misconstrue what I’m saying like as as that like validating the act, but like just the the crushing pressure that we’re under, I think you’d be, you’d be it would be hard to find a physician that wouldn’t understand that, that feeling of being under this crushing pressure, at least at some point in the career, maybe just in residency, maybe afterwards. But what do you find surprises physician surprises, the physician audiences when you show this to them? What, what really surprises us?
Well, first of all, you know, physicians are born overachievers. And then of course, you’re told, you know, now you need to build resilience. So which is kind of crazy. But I’ll tell you when when physicians see the film, because majority of the audience is made up of the blue ocean, they’re shocked at how repressed they are. about the experiences they had in medical school and residency, because they’re just, you know, trying to keep keep on that treadmill, and you don’t want to look back because you’re going to fall. So when they see with film and they see the hazing, the pimping, the bullying the, you know, sleep deprivation, in residency that we follow, they afterwards they say, wow, I had repressed so much of what happened to me. And I think being able to recognize that, even though it’s difficult is healing it’s part of the healing process because repression is not good. So it’s, it’s really good for them and it’s good for them to share their weaknesses and their fears. with each other, they normally would never do that. And I’m really surprised at how many people share their suicidal ideations, their attempt stories, their, you know, even mistakes that they’ve made their frustrations with administrators. I mean, they’ve been very vocal. So the dialogue that we see is really incredible. After the event,
it’s almost like the movie is a key that unlocks something that then just pours forth from us. Right. It’s almost like permission to start talking about the things that we weren’t, didn’t feel like we were able to talk about before.
That’s exactly what it feels like. And my uncle was a colorectal surgeon in New Jersey for 30 years, and I say was because we lost them a couple years ago, but I showed him 20 minutes of the film when I was working on it, and he said, this is going to open up Pandora’s box, because physicians are just not used to talking to each other about their struggles. It’s just not done. You know, in fact, like people would describe to me, you know, they would avoid each other in the hallways, other than like a little nod because, you know, you don’t want to ask how someone’s doing because, you know, they don’t want to show their weakness. And then you don’t want to get involved because then you might wind up holding their pager if they need help. So down the line, so there’s such little discussion about what’s really going on. So you have these relationships, but they’re very superficial. And what the film has done is really got people talking on a much deeper level and some administrators are supportive of this because they understand that to improve morale to improve wellness, you need dialogue. And you need support. So you can’t just have the film and say, okay, you have a film and you know, you got to air your feelings. Now let’s get that to work. You really need to take this and move the ball forward. What can we really do? How can we be proactive to make changes that will see real results in morale? And after the event I talked about, you know, because I’ve traveled to a lot of events. I talk about solutions that I’ve learned along the way at different hospital systems and I share them with other physicians and maybe it could work at your hospital or your medical school. So it’s been interesting to see that sharing going on. Could we do that? can we implement this? And so it’s, it’s the way I used when I do documentary films. It’s for change. And I hope that change is happening. But I just hope that it’s embraced more by the powers that the administrators at hospitals, medical societies have been very supportive. But the AMA is not supportive of the film, The acgme. Well, they don’t come off looking at well in the film, not supportive. So, you know, it’s too bad. We can all work together, but we’ll push forward for what really counts, which is systemic change to improve the wellness of physicians, and also quality of care patients. Is this an issue in other countries? Is this or is this a product of American culture where you’re worth really hinges on your status whether status is defined as academic excellence or financial Success is that is this? Is this a purely American phenomenon? Or is this happening in other countries? That’s what’s fascinating in the film, we have a section on what’s happening internationally. And what we found out is that this is truly a pandemic, because what we realized is that it doesn’t matter. Whether you have a managed care system, the pay system doesn’t matter if it’s socialized medicine. What it really comes down to is sleep deprivation and the stigma of mental health, the inability of physicians to get mental health, the stigma that they face, in their communities, for needing counseling. So if you have those two elements, the stigma of being depressed and needing help or just wanting mental health treatment or just appearing weak Feeling the stigma and sleep deprivation? together? You have this problem. And we hear from people all over the world. huge problem in Asia. We hear from Australia, big problem. South Africa, now in India, but it’s hidden, except in India in the film. You see, they read the suicide notes on the evening news. So they talk about it, but it’s a huge problem. So
still a problem even though it’s out in the open.
Yeah, exactly. Because the stigma still exist. And the sleep deprivation still exists. So especially for residents, you know, in the film, Dr. Charles Sizemore from Harvard, he and Dr. Chris Landrigan both from Brigham and Women’s and Harvard who run the sleep Center at Harvard, and they you know, they sent to me and I put it in the film like speak about it. You’re a resident, I knew Resident you’re an intern, you just got out of medical school, you’ve just had all this training. And now you’re about to see patients on your own. You know, you have clinicals, your third and fourth year of medical school, but I’m talking about really caring for patients on your own as an intern, and that they’re really you’re set up to fail, because you’re forced to work 28 hour shifts, when it’s been proven that after 16 hours, you’re not really learning your brain because you are human, doesn’t have the capacity after 16 hours. And they’ve done many studies in the lab about sleep deprivation and medical errors. So you’re a resident and you’re now forced to work these slave shifts. You get into your car, get into a car accident, sent out by the hospital, go home for come back in a few hours and then you live with a fear of hurting someone or worse killing a patient in the beginning of your career, so you’re set up to sale right from the beginning, that might hurt or kill someone. I mean this what kind of profession is this?
So well, that really begs the question, what is a resident? Right? What is an intern? Are they a student? Are they an apprentice? Are they an indentured servant? Like what? What are the what is their role? Is their role just to learn? Are we trying to optimize their learning? Or are they there to work? Like, you know, like a physician extender. Why? And I think if we really to sit down and define, we’d have to define it first before we could decide what they are. Right? And then you could decide whether those work hours are because they’re, you know, clearly they’re unreasonable. But are we going to be Are we going to accept it? Are we going to accept it They’re an apprentice. They’re not a student anymore. They’re an apprentice. So I think we need to define that. I mean, personally, I think the whole the system needs to be built from the ground up. Because Yeah, we know so much more about effective learning and effective teaching than we did. And this this system, the system has evolved. And just like we covered in episodes on the podcast about evolution with Nathan lense, who’s an evolutionary biologist, you know, evolution creates just a cobbles things together one thing on top of another, so something that used to be an arm now becomes a wing, because that was the limb that happened to be there was it? You know, if you built it from the ground up? Would you have that arm turned into a wing? Probably not. You probably have a separate set of wings and arms, but that’s not how it works. And that’s how the medical system has evolved, right? It’s just cobbled together over time. It hasn’t been built from the ground up and if we could build it from the ground up, then I think we we’d win Have an effective system because of how much research is out there. So if we’re really scientists, then we really do need to take what is what data is out there about the most effective learning and then institute that.
You’re talking about a one, nobody’s really asking me, no one asked you. And you’re talking about a century old system that no one wants to bother changing. And what you say is, that’s in medical school, and even in hospitals. Dr. ciphered said to me, Imagine that you’re using medicine has changed so much just even in the last 10 to 20 years. But yet, we’re using the same model that we did years ago, decades ago. It doesn’t work. So you can’t use the same system you have to resolve. But the system has not evolved in medical training, and it hasn’t evolved for practicing physicians. It’s a big problem because evolution could cost money and it could take time. And it seems that the people in charge, the administrators don’t want to spend the time and the money to evolve with what’s happening in our society and the demands on health care. So, for example,
because you’re going to take a financial hit, right, you’re gonna see fewer pay, it’s gonna end up with either residents who are attendings, or both see your patients, and that’s going to be a financial hit. Ultimately, it may lead to fewer medical errors and fewer lawsuits, but that front end investment that you got to make and that’s a that’s a tough thing to do. We got away from something that I want to come back to because I’m just really curious about what the answer is. You know, you mentioned that women attempt suicide more often, men die by suicide, because those their attempts are more right for lack of a better word successful but aside from the male female split, what are the other demographics is this is this more common in minorities, this is more common in people from a higher or a lower socioeconomic status. Is this, like who is this affecting the most? I’m
curious. Statistics are so cooler. Because until recently, I think since 2014, when in New York, I don’t know if you remember these two young doctors within a week of each other, jumped from the roofs of their hospitals. And it really woke everybody up once again, because I guess we went to sleep for a while to to the problem of suicide and burnout. And you know, there was renewed interest, because remember these tough topics on mental health and about suicide and depression, nobody would go. So it wasn’t just, you know, the leaders of the conferences of these big organizations. Physicians themselves, didn’t want to talk about this because they were You know, brought up just to say, this is not a problem for me because I’m supposed to be perfect. This statistics are very shaky for me. There there isn’t. There aren’t statistically say, you know, minorities are more effective. It’s it’s not. It’s not a minority thing. It’s not a socio economic crisis. You don’t really know and I don’t really because we don’t know because so many suicides are really coded as accidents. We don’t really have a good grasp. We’ve been using this 300 to 400 number for so long. Because we don’t really know I do know that Dr. Pamela Waibel when I started working on the film and she showed me this book, she said she had a die of suicide diary, and she was compiling for herself because there were no real statistics. suicides male female Now hot method of suicide. And when I shot that scene with her that you see in the film, she had about 200 names. Now she’s got over 1600 names in this diary, because I shot that scene with her in 2015, let’s say. So that’s what she’s added to her diary in just that space of time. And those are just the ones that she knows about. Those aren’t the ones that are coded as accidents, she can verify those. So we don’t really know, Brad, it’s just so that’s part of the frustration. That is not a real interest to find the numbers. The real numbers. Yeah,
yeah. I mean, you know, that was gonna make the segue into the current pandemic, same issue, the numbers, how many cases are out there? We don’t you know, we’re not tracking it. We’re not we’re not our testing is Limited, that the numbers that they’re putting out there are, you know, pale in comparison to the, to the real numbers. And it’s hard to code, you know, who actually dies as a consequence of COVID-19 versus, you know, some secondary cause. And then, you know, those statistics are just are just challenging. So, in the face of this pandemic, let’s say you, you were in the process of creating your documentary. Hmm, right. You had done it a couple years later. So that this was occurring in the midst of you creating your documentary.
What would you have done differently? In the wake of the current pandemic, what would you have either included or tracked or covered? If you had included this, what we’re going through right now in your documentary, first of all, Brett, I think it would have been easier because when I started working on excel in 2014, no One wanted to talk about it. It was so challenging to get physicians and medical students, or part of the establishment to talk about this topic, it was still very much hidden. And, you know, people just have this vision that physicians had this cushy life. And you know, they were playing golf, it just, there wasn’t a lot of motivation to talk about it. So I think now if it had happened now, there would be a lot more interest to talk about the pressures, and a lot more acknowledgments, a lot more transparency, because we see it, we see them getting suited up and getting sick and losing their allies to help patients. So of course, this would be a fascinating example of how important positions are. But when I started working on the film, position, suicide and Look, you know, suicide is a problem in society in general, why should we care about physician suicide? And I, you know, was trying to draw the link Look, if if physicians are taking their lives, what kind of care do you think you’re going to get? as a patient? Think about it, think about it. So now it’s, it’s easier to see how important positions are now, you know, men don’t realize these are ER and ICU, you know, these are hospitals that are really on the front lines, physicians like you that have private practices that are hurting and other ways you know, financially. You know, no one’s having elective surgery and people are reluctant to go out of their house forget about, let alone go to an empty appointment to get their deviated septum
earwax clean. Yeah.
physicians in private practice are hurting in other ways, but it just would have man made it easier to get along. empathy for positions that what I experienced back in 2014 1516 of all it took me four years in between shooting for a year and a half, two years and then editing for another 18 months. So in in that space of time, you know, there was just starting to see, you know, more dialogue and more programs, but there was still a lot of resistance to talk about this. So it would have been actually easier.
Yeah, I can see that right now. They’re just so overburdened and overtaxed and if they were already even a bit burned out beforehand you know, they they have no guard left. So you ask them a question and they will be more than happy to go into great detail about what is what challenges they’re facing or and have been facing.
I’m holding posted a cold COVID-19 we can still use this film as a means To get the community together and have a dialogue about what has happened, you know, how can we use this spotlight this national spotlight, this global spotlight on physicians and all healthcare workers to demand change to improve wellness and safety. So
tell us one more time about the virtual screening for do no harm.
The screening is on April 19, which is a Sunday evening. It’s 8pm on the east coast. 7pm Central and 5pm on the east coast. The easiest way to register is if they go to the do no harm film website, and on the homepage, there’s a button right there to click to learn more about the panel and the event. And then you can register
and that’s do no harm film calm, correct. Okay. Robin Simon, thank you so much for creating this Extremely important documentary and for taking this time to do the podcast.
Thank you, Brad. It was a pleasure. Thanks for having me.
That was Dr. Bradley Block at the physicians guide to doctoring. He can be found at physicians guide to doctoring calm, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have a question for previous guests, or have an idea for a future episode, send a comment on the web page. Also, please be sure to leave a five star review on your preferred podcast platform. We’ll see you next time on the physicians guide to doctoring.
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