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07/05/2019    Andrew Levy, DPM

Preventing Suicides of Podiatric Residents(Patrick DeHeer, DPM)

I feel a need to add another voice of support to
Doctor DeHeer's concerns and important
consideration for finding ways to prevent suicide
among our residents and our peers. We to have
suffered the sadness of this tragedy in our
community, in our professional ranks and with our
professional colleagues in other fields. I
discussed this today with a patient who is
director of a postdoc program in our community,
and they also have that problem as well. This is,
unfortunately, ubiquitous to all of our
societies.

While we search for the appropriate tools to
study the phenomenon and assess different tools
to help fight the problems through mentorship,
referral to physician services or the importance
of enlightening our fellow colleagues, the
important work must be done. To diminish the
profound impact this has on so many families and
friends and potentially future generations of
patients that are deprived the care of qualified
practitioners is diminishing to us all. We have
taken oaths to be healers.

We've trained specifically to heal in the lower
extremity, but we must also recognize that we
have a responsibility to heal those who are in
our profession at whatever level; be it just
beginning as a student, being advanced as a
resident or fellow or be as a professional
practitioner.

When we look at our practices and we see patients
come back after years, when we see them bring
their families back or when we see them refer
their friends and families, we have to realize
that we have lost a colleague and we have lost
the opportunity treat all those other people, as
a ripple effect. The other ripple effect is
obviously the pain and suffering that the
survivors have to deal and their need to get help
with that much pain. We have to recognize that
for anyone to be considering suicide as their
only option how much pain that they must be in
and that we are missing some ways of connecting.
This has affected all of us, me included.

As I began my training, I was given the book
'House of God' by Samuel Shem, MD. I read it,
laughing so hard during parts of it that I could
not hold the book still. Ultimately, it was a
very sad story that this relates to. I've just
taken the opportunity to reread it recently with
its new forward and afterword. I recommend it
wholeheartedly to all of us that are involved in
teaching and in healing.

Count me in for trying to help where we can in
supporting research for prevention and healing.
We may not have many other jobs that are as
important.

Andrew Levy, DPM, Jupiter, FL

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