When the Bully is usually a Doctor

Toward the end of my surgery rotation, I scrubbed in on a patient undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, an intricate procedure in which the heart is usually actually halted through its inexorable beating for a time as the surgeon attaches brand new vessels supplying This specific with blood. The cardiac surgeon had spent the majority of the case berating me for my inadequacies, through how I held a retractor to the way I was standing or had tied my surgical cap. Eventually, he called me over to his side of the operating table.

“I want you to hold This specific heart for me with your hands,” he said.

Ever so gingerly, I eased my hands underneath the patient’s heart, cradling This specific as delicately as if This specific were a Fabergé egg.

“Jesus Christ!” he shouted at me. “What the hell are you doing? You almost tore This specific out of This specific man’s chest when I just fixed the damn thing! Get out of here!”

I sheepishly left the O.R., in addition to any passing thoughts I had of a career in surgery.

although the consequences of bullying, as we all know, can be even more dire, leading to anxiety, depression, burnout, drug abuse in addition to worse.

In a recent essay within the brand new England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Michael Weinstein, a trauma surgeon, opens up about his own spiral into depression in addition to burnout, after silently enduring feelings of inadequacy for years while working in a culture of which wouldn’t allow him to share those feelings. He recounts how, during his residency, he was “rewarded” for having been on call for 24 hours with being allowed to scrub in to the operating room post-call, extending his shift to 36 hours. He reflects on how he considered a colleague “weak” because he took a leave of absence for a nervous breakdown. He eventually plots his own suicide, in addition to This specific is usually only at his wife’s urging of which he finally gets the help he needs.

How many others have been driven to such despondency with the mixture of sick or dying patients, whom we sometimes can’t fix, in addition to an unforgiving work environment?

This specific is usually a cruel irony of which doctors in addition to nurses are drawn to medicine to care for others, yet the majority have been bullied by their colleagues in addition to superiors. We should all be able to turn to one another for support, to be able to admit of which we are hurting, in addition to to ask for a system of which allows for missing work within the event of illness, without suffering castigation for being weak.

This specific’s in our patients’ best interests, in addition to in ours.