Preface to Intravenous Hope, Stat!
on this book, Intravenous Hope, Stat! introduced me to one of the toughest
cases of self-doubt I've ever encountered:
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.)
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.)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
your needs, at the end of the Introduction I include some links to sources of help. (Not included in this excerpt.)
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
from various doctors about their struggles;
links to articles on morale in the
occasional links to research on M.D. attitudes;
from discussion of the state of medical practice in the future.