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Jan-20-2011 16:24printcomments

Doctor Suicides Vs. Military Suicides: There is a Connection

Studies in Denmark indicated that doctors had the highest suicide rates of 20 professions. I’ll bet the U.S. has about the same.

Depressed doctor

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - The Oregonian had an article about the former on January 18, 2011. This is rather standard history within this profession. My first time in Medical School (I’ve done it twice) the story was that it was psychiatrists who outed themselves from taking on others’ problems.

This new information is about surgeons. This doesn’t surprise me. I have compared medical internships with combat. With both there is a whole bunch of blood and guts, disconcerting to most people! The Associated Press article suggested the cause of surgeons suicides to be a combination of medical errors (including career ending surgical errors), job burnout (the psychological stress can be overwhelming) and depression which it isn’t – it’s more like repeated severe anguish!

I decided to check this out on the computer and to compare it to the current epidemic of Army and Marine suicides. I was only slightly surprised to see that doctor suicides are about twice that of the military. The psychological stresses of both of these professions is massive.

One would think that the intellectual level of Doctors should be protective, obviously it is not. The suicide rate of males is about 23 per 100,000, for females it is about 6 per 100,000 but females have more attempts but a low success rate.

There even has been a documentary about this called Struggling in Silence.

Of the 8000 surgeons interviewed 25% of these doctors who had suicidal thoughts sought mental health care. They were afraid to be “found out” by their Medical Boards!

I went through that crap myself. I was considered “crazy” because I advocated for the use of Medical Marijuana so I must be crazy!! My neuro-psychiatric tests were off the positive (normal scale). I think the Medical Board members who forced me to take them should take the tests to see why they are CRAZY.

The surgeons take anti-depressant drugs which DO cause suicides. They also take anti-psychotics and “benzos” which also cause suicides. This is a whole different subject.

One of the recent studies of the relationship of drug abuse and suicide indicated that anesthesiologists had a very high drug abuse rate from their exposure to drugs like Fentanyl used in surgery and also use of Opiates like Morphine and Opioids like Oxycontin all available to them.

Studies in Denmark indicated that doctors had the highest suicide rates of 20 professions. I’ll bet the U.S. has about the same.

The method of exit among doctors is: single drug overdose 76%; multiple drug with alcohol 17%; stabs in chest or abdomen 3%; and carbon monoxide 3%.

One of the chief professional hazards for doctor/surgeons is seeking mental health advice or care. They have the danger of The Medical Boards suspending or revoking their license which can be professional and financial suicide.




Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 2 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.

Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon. Do you have a question, comment or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
Email him:

More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole". Order the book by mail by following this link: DOGFACE SOLDIER OF WWII If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

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