Our economy is a major concern. I referred to this last year in this column and it is as true today. Each year we rely on our contributors to continue or increase their level of financial support. The MPHP is not dependent on governmental support but it does need the ongoing support from our friends, the contributors, each and every year. They are our lifeline.
MPHP provides an objective, compassionate level of service that initially may be the only lifeline available to a troubled Missouri physician. For the MPHP to continue to be there as a lifeline, we depend on our lifeline as well. This is truly a cooperative relationship. Our lifeline, the contributor, preserves MPHP which in turn allows the MPHP to preserve Missouri physicians. Our contributors are vital to the process of preserving the lives of Missouri physicians.
The MPHP reaches across the state and allows us to serve all Missouri physicians. We have supportive staff available in St. Louis, Columbia, Kirksville, Kansas City, Joplin, Springfield, Poplar Bluff and Cape Girardeau. We will respond to calls from anyone concerned about a Missouri physician.
Throughout the years, we have identified excellent resources that are able to provide the types of assistance the troubled physician requires. They are just a phone call away. Our lifeline allows us to be available to respond to a plea for help.
This year an event occurred that may be a reminder of how necessary we are. A physician fell into a deep hole of despair. He was not able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was all darkness to him. Because the MPHP staff was very involved and alert, the staff detected the warning signs of self-destruction. A 911 call was placed and the first responders were able to prevent a fatal outcome. He is alive today, has hope and is in the hands of extremely competent professionals.
What a great outcome! But what would have happened if we had not been involved?
I remember one year when a physician’s employer was very concerned about the mental status of one of our participants. We talked frequently. One day he did not come to work. The employer called the MPHP quite concerned. It was quite inconvenient for me to look for him at that moment. There were many pressing matters at hand, but my gut warned me that I should not wait. I didn’t. I found his car outside his apartment. I then arranged access through the apt. leasing company, and once inside I found him in the act of killing himself. By acting quickly, his suicide attempt was interrupted, and 911 was called. The lifeline was there to save his life.
There are many stories to tell. They are not always happy endings. However, each successful intervention impacts thousands of patients which in turn are served. This is quite a ripple effect.
Our success belongs to the contributors as well. This Thanksgiving I received a text message from a thankful physician. He said, “Happy Thanksgiving! We have a lot to be grateful for this year, and one thing I am thankful for is you, Bob!!!” I certainly enjoyed receiving this message, but it was not just me that deserved the thanks. Our entire family of contributors and service providers is what makes this program work.
Physicians who have been assisted should encourage their hospitals and medical staffs to pledge their annual contribution. Colleagues and administrators who have benefited from the preservation of a physician should speak up for the MPHP when the opportunity presents itself to determine the level of support from your organization. This is the gift that keeps on giving. You are vital to keeping the life preserver afloat, ready for the next troubled physician.