Physician suicide, 7/22/21
“I’m very sad to share the loss of beloved Family Medicine Physician, Radhika Lal Snyder. Radhika died by suicide on July 4th and her loss is a profound shock to all who know and love her. She died 3 days before she was scheduled to go back to work from maternity leave.
For those who knew her, or those who want to know more, here is her memorial website: https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/RadhikaLalSnyder/?pvgLink=jcbs4gm90e .
Rest In Peace, sweet friend.” ~ Dr. Heather Hamernick (shared with permission).
My heart is breaking again reading this tribute. What an absolutely amazing woman, physician, mother, sister, friend. Reading through comments, I’ve learned Radhika was a much loved bright light that was able to put anyone in her presence at ease.
I’m devastated at the loss of 2 physician mamas from our community this season.
We MUST come together & support one another, notice changes in behaviors, & be on the look out for those hurting.
Increased alcohol/substance use.
Lack of sleep or too much.
More reserved. Less interactive.
Or more exuberant & taking risks.
Changes in personality.
Any disruption, noticeable change – even the slightest.
As physicians we strive for perfection & have a difficult time asking for any help – & rarely, if ever, do we stop, realize, & admit to ourselves we’re human too. And we too need to be cared for, & allow others to care for US & willingly accept needed help.
We’re overachievers & good at taking on challenges, problem solving, & finding ways to make things work.
Constantly being asked to do more with less, & finding solutions to meet often seemingly unattainable goals.
Until we can’t.
Until the facade cracks & life becomes too much to bear.
And we succumb to the overwhelm, exhaustion, pain, & guilt.
A chance to escape.
And our primitive brain takes over to end the pain.
Physician suicide must stop.
Please connect with your colleagues.
Watch out for each other.
Take a moment every single day to check in with one another.
Be open. Watchful. On the look out.
Ask – really ask & take the time to listen & HEAR the the answer.
Be on the lookout for any deviance in behavior. Heed any clue.
We must work together & save each other.
Persistently & relentlessly activate & advocate for change.
Our house is broken & we’re losing members of our tribe.
Too many lives taken abruptly.
It’s up to each & every one of us to support each other, lift up, connect, & work together to heal our house & protect our physician family.
Lives are at stake.
We need each other, now more than ever.
RIP Dr. Radhika Lal Snyder.
RIP Dr. Gretchen Butler.
RIP Dr. Lorna Breen.
RIP Dr. Matthew Gall.
Your light will live on in all of us, always. ❤️
Links & Resources:
COVID19 Mental Health Resources for HCW
Poignant piece by Bozorgmehr Hosseinpour, from November 2020.
Some say they see a hero in this picture.
I see a human silently screaming, doing their best while drowning as others laugh, play, and splash around them.
It’s time we Heal the Healers.
This. Must. Stop.
9/26/21 Addendum: Join the #Light4Docs Physician Suicide Prevention initiative by the American Medical Women’s Association. Learn more here: https://www.amwa-doc.org/our-work/initiatives/physician-suicide/