A disabled doctor? Is it possible?

Discussion in 'Topics in Healthcare' started by LionSpirit, Jan 1, 2016.

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  1. LionSpirit


    Jan 1, 2016
    Basically, I'm preparing for my prerequisites right now and I'm worried that med school might be a waste of time because I'm disabled.

    I have a language processing problem, a visual impairment, a chronic pain condition, a seizure disorder, severe muscle weakness in my legs and syncope. If there's a cause behind it, my doctor hasn't found it yet, so for now this is all I can really say about it. The best guess right now is TBI or MS. Anyway, this does get in the way of my functioning to some degree, so Im afraid it might mean I won't do well enough in medical school, or won't even be accepted in the first place. I think I most want to do research in cardiology or neuropsychology, but I should figure out if that's even possible first.

    Do you think someone who's otherwise intelligent could overcome something like this? I don't want to sound self absorbed, but I've been considered "gifted" at least to some degree for most of my life (which I hope will help me). After the damage to my brain my math skills have gotten worse though, which worries me. I don't know if it's possible to recover the functioning I've lost, because even my doctor doesn't know what's wrong with me.

    I feel like I'm just rambling, but I'd appreciate if anyone could contribute their opinions. Sorry for the long post.
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  3. GH253

    GH253 7+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  4. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin 10+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    1) Take care of yourself and figure out what is going on first- perhaps consider going to a quarternary care center. After that you can figure out if it would be do-able

    2) If you want to do research, would you consider doing a PhD?
  5. AlphaBeta<3

    AlphaBeta<3 Banned Banned

    Jun 20, 2015
    Post this somewhere that more people will see
  6. fantasty

    fantasty 10+ Year Member

    Like SPF? ;)

    But, my $0.02.... You can most certainly become a physician with a disability. ADA and discrimination laws ensure these things. We had several med students in my classes with various neurologic deficits, including hemiparesis and difficult to control tremors. Locally, I know of at least one deaf med student. I know several physicians who are wheelchair bound (although those disabilities evolved after training). So, yes... it's definitely possible.

    And, I'm not trying to discourage you, but think seriously about whether it being possible and it being something that's worth your energy is worth it to you. Echoing the above - consider if a PhD is more appropriate if you're really interested in research. Being a physician is a joy, and a calling, and certainly can be worth the investment of time, energy, and frustration. But, it's important to realize that it's not a perfect profession and many, many people are quite happy (or much happier) by not following that pathway. You can follow a lot of different routes with a medical school training, even if you decide never to be a clinician. But, there are much more efficient ways to get to the same endpoint.
    smq123 likes this.
  7. samc

    samc M3 5+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
  8. neurodoc

    neurodoc Neurologist 10+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2003
    SF Bay Area
    Don't write off becoming a physician just because of disabilities. One of my med school classmates had such poor vision he needed a small telescope to see lecture slides and the blackboard, and there are those who gotten through med school and residency with epilepsy and MS. It really depends on how you deal with the disabilities.
    VernonCooper and Mr Giggles like this.
  9. pedsisthebest333


    Mar 13, 2017
    It is totally doable. I developed optic neuritis my first year as a medical student went completely blind in one eye. It eventually got better and vision is good now. Found out I have MS and just finished med school top of my class and starting residency in a couple months. Don't let it stop you
    WaffleSyrup likes this.
  10. VernonCooper


    May 22, 2017
    I agree. Just because someone is disabled that does not mean he/she does not have the choice to make their career in their interested field.
    I think you should do some research over it first and then go for it with full confidence..
  11. strider144

    strider144 medical shmedical

    Mar 16, 2017
    There are plenty of disabled doctors out there, including many who were disabled before med school. I'd look up the technical standards for some schools and see if you could meet those (with reasonable accommodations). I have a suspicion that tolerance for accommodations varies by school/program. If you think you can meet the technical standards I'd still be ready to fight for accommodations, but being disabled shouldn't rule medicine out!

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