Dr Simone Ryan was working 105 rostered hours a week in surgery. Until the moment she worked so hard she became the patient.
She was a classic over-achiever – representing Australia in basketball, gaining the Sydney University medal in medicine and working more than 100 hours a week, plus being on call, as a doctor in a prominent Sydney hospital.
“I was stuffed, actually. I was really tired, run-down,” she says. But being the driven daughter of hard-working parents, she “just kept working”.
One day, exhausted, she called in sick to work.
“What’s wrong with you?” her boss asked.
“I said, ‘Nothing’s ‘wrong’ with me, I’m just not fit for work today.’ They were my exact words, which still give me shivers up my spine,” Dr Ryan says.
“I said, ‘We’ve got a busy day. I’m not capable of doing eight bypass grafts today. I’m going to have the day off.’
“Ultimately, I got up, got dressed and went to work, just ridden with guilt.”