PHP Medical Director Jon Shapiro, MD, ABAM
Almost once a year our phone rings at PHP. It’s that dreaded call relating that a doctor has taken his/her own life. This is someone that we have met and spoken to many times. We are talking about someone we have coaxed into recovery with a promise of a better life to come. Some people don’t grasp that hope and success.
More often than once a day a physician kills him/herself in the U.S. and substance abuse is a contributory factor for many of them. Our friends seem most vulnerable when they are first intervened upon or following a relapse.
So much of our mission is wrapped up in corralling our colleagues into their evaluation and treatment and setting up their monitoring that we sometimes forget to get the good message out. Our doctors do get better. They grow happier and the vast majority return to productive personal and professional lives.
Let us remember and honor the many Pennsylvania doctors who have died from substance abuse. Let us never neglect to broadcast this message of hope. Substance abuse is a disease. People can and do recover. We love you and miss you Jim F.(1959-2015).