Episode 107: Suicide in Anesthesia with Mike Fitzsimons

In this 107th episode I welcome Dr. Mike Fitzsimons back to the show to discuss the topic of suicide in physicians in general and in Anesthesia providers specifically.

References:

  1. Bucknill JC, Duke DH. A Manual of Psychological Medicine. London, England: John Churchill;1958
  2. Yaghmour NA, Brigham TP, Richter T, Miller RS, Philibert I, Baldwin DC, Nasca TJ. Cause of Death of Residents in ACGME-Accredited Programs 2000-2014: Implications for the eLearning Environment. Acad Med 2017;92:976-983.
  3. Alexander BH, Checkoway H, Nagahama SI, Domino KB. Cause-specific Mortality Risks of Anesthesiologists. Anesthesiology 2000;93:922-930.
  4. Center C, Davis M, Detre T, Ford DE, Hansbrough, Hendin H, et al. Confronting Depression and Suicide in Physicians A Consensus Statement. JAMA 2003;289:3161-3166.
  5. Dyrbye LN, Eacker A, Durning SJ, Brazeau C, Moutier C, Massie FS, Satele D, Sloan JA, Shanafelt TD. The Impact of Stigma and Personal Experiences on the Help-Seeking Behaviors of Medical Students with Burnout. Acad Med 2015;90:961-9.
  6. Moutier C, Norcross W, Jong P, Normal M, Kirby B, McGuire T, Zisook S. The Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Acad Med 2010;87:320-326.
  7. Knox KL, Litts DA, Talcott GW, Feig JC, Caine ED. Risk of suicide and related outcomes after exposure to a suicide prevention programme in the US Air Force: cohort study. BMJ 2003;327:1-5
  8. DesRoches CM, Rao SR, Fromson JA, Iezzoni L, Vogeli C, Campbell EG. Physicians’ Perceptions, Preparedness for Reporting Impaired and Incompetent Colleagues. JAMA 2010;304:187-193.
  9. Bruce DL, Eide KA, Linde HW, Eckenhoff JE. Causes of Death among Anesthesiologists: A 20-Year Survey. Anesthesiology 1968;29:565-569.
  10. Knox KL, Pflanz S, Talcott GW, Campise RL, Lavigne JE, Bjorska A, Tu X, Caine ED. The US Air Force Suicide Prevention Program: Implications for Public Health Policy. Am J Public Health 2010;100:2457-2463.
  11. Hazell P. Adolescent suicide clusters: Evidence, mechanisms, and prevention. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 1993;27:653-665.

5 Replies to “Episode 107: Suicide in Anesthesia with Mike Fitzsimons”

  1. This episode hits close for me, when I was in training I spent a lot of time with one provider who was a prolific author, and was head of anesthesia/critical care units, but more than that he was an incredible teacher. When I say that, it was an understatement. In my last year of training, there was a fateful event that caused him to take his life. It shook me to my core. In healthcare there are moments that despite any amount of knowledge, can effect people beyond our normal compensatory methods.
    I appreciate this conversation, despite being a difficult topic.

  2. All time astronomical suicide rate in anesthesia. Some planned and others neglected chronic disease ignored. 23 recent suicides!

  3. I know that’s not directly related to the topic but would love to get your opinion on a scenario where the HOD is using his authority to enforce anesthetists to overwork beyond the working hours and totally refuse to handover lengthy cases to the next shift, his explanation is to ensure patient safety and to limit the responsibility to the one who started the case.
    meanwhile there is no compensation towards the extra working hours.

    P.S: The contract is monthly salary towards certain hrs./ wk
    Thank you

    1. Hi Maggie,

      From what you’ve said this certainly sounds like a terrible policy and one that is probably pushing the boundaries of legality. Depending on what country you live and work in rules may be different, but I can say that while it is true that there are risks associated with handoffs, there are also risks associated with working when tired and working while burned out. As a profession we need to develop safe methods for handing off even very involved cases. This is an area where we can learn a lot from nurses. ICU nurses, for example, routinely hand off the care of very sick patients and they do it safely and well. I hope things take a turn for the better with you and your situation!

      All the best,
      Jed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.