One of NSW’s “brightest young doctors” is among four junior physicians to take their lives in recent months in a spate of suicides that has rocked the health system and forced the Minister to intervene to stop medicine’s “shameful secret,” the Sunday Telegraph reports.
The paper revealed that an urgent investigation has already found at least 20 medics whose lives have been lost to self-harm.
The Australian Medical Association had lauded 29-year-old Chloe Abbott as a “champion for young doctors”. Yet the fourth-year doctor-in-training took her life on January 9.
Her family believe the “brutal” and “completely unsustainable” expectations of her job, which she juggled while studying 40-hours a week for an upcoming medical exam, contributed to her death.
“The day before she passed away I begged her to leave medicine,” her younger sister, Micaela, told The Saturday Telegraph.
“From what I saw, the expectations were brutal. This exam that was meant to be next month … it became everything to her.
“Someone that had so much to offer was made to feel like, in the end, she wasn’t good enough, would never be good enough and anything she did would never be enough. It’s such a loss. She was so brilliantly smart.”
Mr Hazzard has given his department one month to come up with a plan to stop the suicides.
“This is not just doctors. All our medical staff, including nurses and paramedics, who deal with patients on an urgent basis are potentially at risk,” he said.
“We need to understand the full breadth of the problem so we can start putting evidence based measures in place to help those who help us when we need it.”
Junior doctor suicides: At least 20 lives lost due to enormous pressure (Daily Telegraph)