If you are reading this and are considering harming yourself, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. 800-273-8255. This is a completely confidential pathway. If you do not want to contact the above lifeline, then consider contacting anyone in your local community or a friend you can trust to talk to. Suicide can often be an impulsive act, and by slowing down it can often be stopped. The key is to talk to others and ask for help.
Suicide has touched many of us within the OTA. Many of us know of surgeons and/or other physicians in our local communities who have died by suicide. Male physicians are 2.5 times more likely to commit suicide compared to the general population and for female physicians the risk is even higher at 4 times the rate of the general population.
If you want to learn more about the factors in orthopaedic surgeons and other physicians that can lead to suicide and what can be done to prevent physician suicide, please consider reviewing the options below.
- Elkbuli A, Sutherland M, Shepherd A, Kinslow K, Liu H, Ang D, McKenney M. Factors Influencing US Physician and Surgeon Suicide Rates 2003-2017: Analysis of the CDC-National Violent Death Reporting System. Ann Surg. 2020 Nov 4. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000004575. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33156059.
This is a peer reviewed article from the Annals of Surgery describing the acceleration of physician suicide over time and the risk factors. Orthopaedic surgeons are the most likely group of surgeons to die from suicide.
This is a web page that covers the basic steps that can be taken by organizations and departments to decrease physician suicides.
This is a link to a website run by Pam Wible MD, who is an expert on physician suicide. This link contains an embedded YouTube link to a talk given to the AOFAS in September of 2020 about orthopaedic surgeon suicides and how to prevent the next one.