A SURGEON'S PATH THROUGH SUFFERING: Lessons Learned
Michael Weinstein, MD, MBE, MPH, FACS, FCCM
Dr. Weinstein is an Associate Professor of Surgery within the Division of Acute Care Surgery at Sidney Kimmel Medical Center of Thomas Jefferson University. He received his medical degree and completed his general surgery residency and surgical critical care fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pa.
Two years ago, Dr. Michael Weinstein was depressed, burned out and suicidal. He withdrew from colleagues, patients and his family until, finally, his family doctor ordered that he take medical leave to care for himself. Even after time at a psychiatric hospital, he struggled, and only with the combination of therapy, medications and self-reflection has he been able to find joy in life, and work, again.
Dr. Weinstein’s account of this dark period, and his healing, can be found in Out of the Straitjacket, a piece in the March 1, 2018 issue of The New England Journal Medicine. In it, he encourages providers to take care of themselves, to break through the fear of asking for help when suffering.
“I have learned that many of us suffer in silence, fearing the stigma associated with mental illness. I believe that by deploying tools for reflection and self-care and working together in a brave and disciplined way, we can remove our restraints and isolation – both figurative and literal.”