William R. Taylor, MD

Intravenous Hope, Stat!

Intravenous Hope, Stat! examines the causes and the effects of health professionals' suicides.

We trust doctors not to kill us.

Can we trust them not to kill themselves?

A quote from the Preface of
Intravenous Hope, Stat!:

Working on this book introduced me to one of the toughest cases of self-doubt I've ever encountered:

Find out how I got past my doubts, by downloading your $3.49 copy from amazon order page

Preface to Intravenous Hope, Stat!

Working on this book, Intravenous Hope, Stat! introduced me to one of the toughest cases of self-doubt I've ever encountered:


I've written books before, but I never had the recurring doubts that have come up while struggling with this one. If you want to know more about my doubts they're in the section titled, "My Limitations -- and Qualifications." (Not included in this excerpt.)

Maybe one way to look at those doubts is to consider them a very small sample of the self-doubts (failure of self-confidence) that plague some health professionals who become severely demoralized. Demoralized is defined as feeling some combination of hopeless, helpless, anxious, confused, or angry. Some even become suicidal.

 Doubts may also torture those colleagues and family members who can't decide whether to ask if someone feels suicidal or not. (Most experts say you won't do harm by asking.)

Where did my own doubts come from? I may have either identified too strongly with those at the edge of the cliff, or I may have worried too much about adding to their stress by describing others who feel the same desperation, anger, burnout, or emptiness -- but who decided to keep on living.

I gradually got over my doubts as I read and wrote more. I kept thinking about possibly helping you -- a health professional somewhere out there planning to kill himself or herself in the next few hours, or days -- helping to delay your decision.

As I struggled with the writing, I've come to believe that I won't be adding to your stress by discussing it; that each reader can decide whether this book will prove useful or not. If you find it adding to your stress, I count on you to put it aside.

Finally, I realize that it takes a lot of nerve for me to tell you, a potentially suicidal stranger, not to kill yourself. To say that so soon, asking you to stay alive until you've read further. To trust me enough to stay with me for at least a few pages.

But that's where I have come out: asking you to keep reading, even though we're strangers to each other, and you may feel suicidal.

Or you might be part of another group: a worried relative of a health professional in distress. Or perhaps you're a curious person with no connection to health professionals.

Whatever your needs, at the end of the Introduction I include some links to sources of help. (Not included in this excerpt.)

One final note: I'm offering a number of different kinds of information in this book, hoping to catch the attention of readers whose tastes vary. You'll find
quotes from various doctors about their struggles;
links to articles on morale in the health professions;
occasional links to research on M.D. attitudes;
brief quotes from discussion of the state of medical practice in the future.