Medical professionals rally for greater efforts to prevent physician suicide

    (Kasia Bialasiewicz/Bigstock)

    (Kasia Bialasiewicz/Bigstock)

    Physicians, medical students, residents and others are asking medical governing organizations fopr more action on preventing suicide among doctors and physicians in training.

    As many as 400 physicians die by suicide each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that rate of 17 suicides per 100,000 health care practitioners, making it the country’s 12th most suicide-prone occupations. Medical students also have higher depression rates than the general population.

    Lacey Kohlmoos, who’s helping organize events around this issue in Philadelphia and nine other cities, said it’s a stressful job.

    “The lack of sleep is a big problem, and the crazy schedules is also a big problem,” she said. “But also there is this culture within a lot of medical school and residency programs, that, you know, ‘I suffered, so you have to suffer, too.’ So it becomes this culture of abuse and this hazing.”

    The events stem from a petition, which asks the medical school governing bodies — the Association of American Medical Colleges and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education — to systematically track suicides in school and residency programs, as well as coming up with concrete policy changes to address the issue.

    The rally, which will feature medical professionals as speakers, starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Philadelphia County Medical Society on Spring Garden Street. 

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