A question for applicants with physical disabilities/veterans.

Feb 21, 2013
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm 5 year Navy combat veteran applying this year. I was honorably discharged in 2011 with a service-connected disability. I'm 50% disabled due to cartilage damage in both knees and right shoulder, as well as chronic lower back pain (I'm 25). Should I list my disability on my AMCAS application? I can walk normally without a cane and unless strenuous exercise is required, no one really notices. I'm worried that medical schools will have concerns about my disabilities and I don't want them to think it will affect my academic abilities. At the same time, I don't want to go into an interview and say, "Oh by the way, I can't lift anything super heavy or my knees will go out." Any other vets in similar situation as me? Any thoughts on this matter is greatly appreciated.
 

sworzeh

Crazy Rabbit Lady
5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2011
230
3
Status
Pre-Medical
If they won't notice it and it won't affect you as a physician, I wouldn't mention it.
 

dsoz

Accepted OHSU C/O 2017
5+ Year Member
Apr 8, 2011
1,578
31
Status
Medical Student
There are technical standards posted on most school's websites. For example, from OHSU:

Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences.
Candidates must have sufficient use of the sensory, vision, hearing, motor, and the somatic sensation necessary to perform a physical examination. Candidates must be able to perform activities such as palpation, auscultation, percussion, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the movements, equilibrium and functional use of the sense of touch and vision.
Candidates must be able to learn to respond with precise, quick and appropriate action in emergency situations.
Candidates must be able to communicate with accuracy, clarity, efficiency, and sensitivity.
Candidates must have the skills to be able to analyze and synthesize information, solve problems, and reach diagnostic and therapeutic judgments.
Candidates must be able to acknowledge evaluation and respond appropriately.
Candidates must possess the interpersonal skills to develop rapport and positive relationships with patients.
Candidates are expected to possess the perseverance, diligence, and consistency to complete the medical school curriculum. Candidates, therefore, must be able to tolerate physically and emotionally taxing workloads, to function effectively under stress, to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
The last one may get you.

The only thing that I can think of, is transferring patients. Can to help pick up a person and move them from one bed to another? If so, then you should be OK.

dsoz
 

Mt Kilimanjaro

5+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2013
1,605
480
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ADA requires the school to make reasonable accommodations for you. Reasonable is likely to be very broad for a wounded warrior. I have seen a med student with one hand who was not a veteran. that said, I don't think you need to mention it on the app. You could deal with the accommodations later if you felt you needed them, for instance to get you out of standing all day during surgery.

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.
 
OP
H
Feb 21, 2013
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks guys, I was debating on putting that down in the disadvantaged status section, but I think I won't mention it because it does make me sound like a burden/liability to the admissions committee. I'm volunteering at a very large ER and do have to do some stretcher transfers. Every time I've done it, it's been at least 2 if not 3 of us together doing the patient lifting, so the physical aspect of the job has been pretty manageable.
 
Aug 3, 2010
11
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks guys, I was debating on putting that down in the disadvantaged status section, but I think I won't mention it because it does make me sound like a burden/liability to the admissions committee. I'm volunteering at a very large ER and do have to do some stretcher transfers. Every time I've done it, it's been at least 2 if not 3 of us together doing the patient lifting, so the physical aspect of the job has been pretty manageable.
I also have a disability (genetic visual impairment). It's significant, but it's not so bad that I feel I couldn't be a good physician and meet the technical requirements. When asked secondary questions about challenges I've had to overcome, I always wrote about that. I openly talked about in interviews as well, and am going to be attending a school that I did talk about it. I made it explicitly clear that I could meet the technical standards, but I also said that there might be situations where I'll need help. Every situation is different, but if you can make a case for why it would make you a better doctor (I went with not letting obstacles get in my way, perseverance, and not being ashamed to ask for help when needed) then it could work to enhance your application and help you stand out. You could even talk about it in the context of your ER volunteering.

Edit: I did not put it down in the disadvantaged section.
 
Last edited:

prado

Become an MD they said...
Feb 23, 2013
345
3
Status
Thanks guys, I was debating on putting that down in the disadvantaged status section, but I think I won't mention it because it does make me sound like a burden/liability to the admissions committee. I'm volunteering at a very large ER and do have to do some stretcher transfers. Every time I've done it, it's been at least 2 if not 3 of us together doing the patient lifting, so the physical aspect of the job has been pretty manageable.
Yeah the problem with putting some things down in the disadvantaged section is that they actually might put you at a disadvantage. Take other health issues for example, like depression or alcoholism. Some people put things like that down thinking it might not hurt or actually work in their favor. Unfortunately for them, those things might give adcoms the idea that they haven't yet overcame their previous issues and might still be a risk during medical school.

If I were you, I'd leave it out because the only thing it can do is hurt you.
 
OP
H
Feb 21, 2013
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks everyone. I agree completely. I was just concerned that I would be held accountable for not disclosing my disability to admissions/not being truthful. I guess I will just briefly mention it in my personal statement just to cover my bases.