Just Check In
“It was the summer of 2015 and my life had been in turmoil for the last several years. It felt as if I had been a pint of blood spinning in a centrifuge, dealing with the downfall of my OB/GYN career, the deterioration of my 15-year marriage, the loss of my identity and so much more. It was then that I received a phone call from my best friend since the age of 17 and I just let it go to voicemail.”
I was reading my partner Jennifer Tam, MD first draft with the working title “Doctor’s Anonymous”. I remembered when she finally accepted my invite and I was excited to see my long-lost friend. After 4 years, she finally agreed to come to NY with the right carrot- Tickets to Saturday Night Live, with Ed Sheeran as the special guest. It was a Gritty NYC summer's eve in 2015 when I finally laid eyes on my friend and I knew she was not ok. Her voice cracked when she shared that she left medicine. How could this be?
Jennie was an amazing Ob-Gyn, full panel of patients and even waiting lists for her. Adored by residents and colleagues, Jennie was an expert, reliable, integral, and empathetic, a doc who would routinely place others' needs before her own. Can we add 5 more patients onto her clinic day? Sure she would. 5 more phone calls to answer, you bet she made time. 50 more emails, morning rounds, resident conferences, interview residency spots, you name it Jennie was there. She loved her practice and this I knew in my heart, was a sustaining part of my best friend's life.
There was that one day in the OR she never told me about. A tragic loss for the Mom who lost her baby. Devastating also for my friend who loved people more than her own life. As she helped her patient mourn the inconceivable loss of a child, she shoved her own grief way down. Inconsolable and in need of help, she reached for support from leadership, only to endure #moral injury as they set her up with #sham peer review and miss accused her of wrongdoing. Thank goodness the Office of Professional Medical Misconduct has #integrity and the thorough process took two years to clear my friend. Being the good girl she was, she thought she would jump back into her old life again, Only to add insult to her injury, asking her to leave citing all that her investigation stigmatized their prestigious department. ( Ps at the same time of Jennie's sham peer review, there was an ongoing situation with her colleague, Dr. Robert Hadden, known to be sexually harassing his patients, yet allowed to continue practicing,https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/former-obstetriciangynecologist-robert-hadden-charged-manhattan-federal-court-sexually
Jennie and I thank each other for checking in. She wasn't the only one burning out but more on that story for another day. I'm grateful tonight for the reminder in the video attached- I agree with Penny's hubby all the way- thank you Dr. Larry Volz for your service.