Can a legally blind person become a doctor?

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868651

Hi
I'm almost in my 40s and I'm also legally blind, I'm also trying to return to school to study premed, what are my chances of getting into med school and becoming a physician?


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P0ke

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At the very least, it would narrow down the fields you'd be able to practice in. For instance, I can't see a blind person being a radiologist because their job is to examine X-rays, MRIs, etc. I don't see how you could do surgery either. You could maybe do something like psychiatry, which involves mainly talking to patients. I also don't see how you could do a basic physical exam without vision.
 

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Hi
I'm almost in my 40s and I'm also legally blind, I'm also trying to return to school to study premed, what are my chances of getting into med school and becoming a physician?


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You might be able to get the MD, but getting a residency will be a lot harder, based upon comments from attendings and residents here.

Frankly, I can't recommend it.
 
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Lawper

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Hi
I'm almost in my 40s and I'm also legally blind, I'm also trying to return to school to study premed, what are my chances of getting into med school and becoming a physician?


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Anything is possible. The practicality is a different story altogether, and sadly, it's a pretty career-restricting move. I think you may be limited to psychiatry and primary care.
 
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gyngyn

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If you search: technical standards medical school, you will get the observation requirements for medical schools.
 
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gonnif

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The technical standards were first proposed when Temple Med school accepted and graduated a legally blind student in the 1980s. it took some 10-15 years to develop them that would pass legal scrutiny
 

Raryn

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There's actually an interesting recent article about the medical school technical standards and how they get in the way of potentially training more physicians with disabilities:
Increasing the Number of Doctors With Disabilities Would Improve Medical Care, Not Weaken It

It's basically controversial, because the expectation in medical school is you be able to do all your rotations. If you're blind, you might not be able to do well on say, surgery. Or obstetrics. On the other hand, maybe you'd do fine on psychiatry (assuming you can see well enough to do your documentation with whatever accomodations the school offers you). There's a handful of students who have gone through and graduated while blind, but it's a tiny #.

There was a great thread a few years ago somewhere in the surgery forums about the question of whether a deaf person could ever safely be a surgeon. If I remember correctly, surgeons ended up concluding that the answer was probably not (without the ability to quickly communicate verbally, many emergent situations might not get picked up in time).
 
Oct 30, 2017
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Hi
I'm almost in my 40s and I'm also legally blind, I'm also trying to return to school to study premed, what are my chances of getting into med school and becoming a physician?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I'm legally blind, in my early 30's and I'm also considering becoming a physician... Well, more than considering. I'm taking active steps in that direction. It's not an easy decision to make -- which is why I searched your question and came across it here.

I get along well if I have technology to aid me. I can read any text that's on a screen and I use my phone's camera to read hard copies when the text is too small. Looking at the answers here, I don't understand why someone with my condition (who can use computers and read charts) is limited to just psychiatrist and can't be an endocrinologist, nephrologist or even a cardiologist. A lot of medicine these days revolves around looking at computers rather than people. I didn't think I'd be able to take care of other human beings until I became a mom and you know what? I discovered that just having a little bit of sight is a lot if you know how to use it. And if you have a good memory and are good at problem solving and logic? And if it's what you want to do? You should do it. There ARE ways. I'm not going to do it in the US, though. I've decided on Italy for my studies - there are great medicine courses in English (search Harvey Course in Pavia, Italy). It takes 6 years, the school costs close to nothing but it's still well-considered. At the end, you can be a practicing physician in Europe or do the USMLE step 1 and 2 during the 4th/5th year and try to get a residency in the US.

It's not going to be easy but since when was anything easy for us?
 

Raryn

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I'm legally blind, in my early 30's and I'm also considering becoming a physician... Well, more than considering. I'm taking active steps in that direction. It's not an easy decision to make -- which is why I searched your question and came across it here.

I get along well if I have technology to aid me. I can read any text that's on a screen and I use my phone's camera to read hard copies when the text is too small. Looking at the answers here, I don't understand why someone with my condition (who can use computers and read charts) is limited to just psychiatrist and can't be an endocrinologist, nephrologist or even a cardiologist. A lot of medicine these days revolves around looking at computers rather than people. I didn't think I'd be able to take care of other human beings until I became a mom and you know what? I discovered that just having a little bit of sight is a lot if you know how to use it. And if you have a good memory and are good at problem solving and logic? And if it's what you want to do? You should do it. There ARE ways. I'm not going to do it in the US, though. I've decided on Italy for my studies - there are great medicine courses in English (search Harvey Course in Pavia, Italy). It takes 6 years, the school costs close to nothing but it's still well-considered. At the end, you can be a practicing physician in Europe or do the USMLE step 1 and 2 during the 4th/5th year and try to get a residency in the US.

It's not going to be easy but since when was anything easy for us?
To do the medical subspecialties, you need to get through an internal medicine residency. While procedures aren't an explicit requirement from the ACGMS/ABIM (other than pap smear, ACLS, arterial puncture and venipuncture), most programs require them.

For endocrinology, thyroid FNAs are also required. No clue about requirements for procedures in nephrology. And cardiology has very comprehensive procedure requirements.

I have no idea what level of visual impairment it takes to make these procedures less safe, but it certainly would be a concern if I were recruiting a trainee.
 
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OP
8

868651

I'm legally blind, in my early 30's and I'm also considering becoming a physician... Well, more than considering. I'm taking active steps in that direction. It's not an easy decision to make -- which is why I searched your question and came across it here.

I get along well if I have technology to aid me. I can read any text that's on a screen and I use my phone's camera to read hard copies when the text is too small. Looking at the answers here, I don't understand why someone with my condition (who can use computers and read charts) is limited to just psychiatrist and can't be an endocrinologist, nephrologist or even a cardiologist. A lot of medicine these days revolves around looking at computers rather than people. I didn't think I'd be able to take care of other human beings until I became a mom and you know what? I discovered that just having a little bit of sight is a lot if you know how to use it. And if you have a good memory and are good at problem solving and logic? And if it's what you want to do? You should do it. There ARE ways. I'm not going to do it in the US, though. I've decided on Italy for my studies - there are great medicine courses in English (search Harvey Course in Pavia, Italy). It takes 6 years, the school costs close to nothing but it's still well-considered. At the end, you can be a practicing physician in Europe or do the USMLE step 1 and 2 during the 4th/5th year and try to get a residency in the US.

It's not going to be easy but since when was anything easy for us?
I researched that program, it’s a 6 year Masters degree which I don’t know if a residency in the US will accept that. The cost of the school may be cheap, but you’d still have to move to another country which could be expensive. I would move, but I don’t know if I could afford it.
 
Apr 8, 2019
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Hi
I'm almost in my 40s and I'm also legally blind, I'm also trying to return to school to study premed, what are my chances of getting into med school and becoming a physician?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Did you end up applying? I think it really depends on what your visual acuity is and what specialties you are interested in.
 
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