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color blind people in surgery

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by fremitus, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. fremitus

    fremitus BRAIN DOC AND SHRINK
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    I'm a third year medical student from the Philippines who unfourtunately happends to be color blind. I was told by my so of my profs while I was still in my basic years that I should not go into surgery. This disappointed me because from the start of med school I wanted to enter the surgical field. My interest in surgery grew more when I started my clinical studies.

    Being color blind, could i still go into surgery? What do you guys think. Right now I have my eyes set on Othopaedics, do you think it's possible?

    Thanks!:confused:
     
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  3. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Interesting question. While being color-blind can obviously be a disadvantage in any medical field, there are advantages. For example, you may be more attuned to contours, lines, shapes, etc. and this can work to your advantage in the surgical field, especially if anatomy is obscured by voluminous blood.

    I know more than 1 color-blind surgical resident, so at least at some programs it should not be a insurmountable problem.
     
  4. I know a color-blind cardiac surgeon. He is a major big-wig at a top 10 university. He was a pioneer in the program at said university. He is also dyslexic!!! I am not going to give his name or the university name. I am not sure he would like said information in a public forum.

    Suffice it to say, you can be a surgeon if you chose to work hard at it. However, unless this condition will limit you as a resident, you should probably NOT volunteer the information. I am not sure all surgery programs would be open minded about color blind residents.

    Have a good day.
     
    #3 Skylizard, Nov 9, 2002
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2008
  5. Toadkiller Dog

    Toadkiller Dog Senior Member
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    Several ophthalmology programs will want you to send information about your visual acuity to them if you apply. Other than this, I have never heard of it being an issue.

    It certainly shouldn't be an issue in orthopedics. I doubt anyone will ask at all.

    Also (this is important!): one thing you should *never, ever* do in medical school is take the advice of someone not in the field that they are speaking about (i.e, the Ph.D who tells you you would be a good medicine doc, or the fp who says you should/shouldn't go into surgery).
     
  6. Northerner

    Northerner Coquettish Haberdasher
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    I personally know of a very successful surgeon who is color blind, don't know if quoting precendence helps, but they're out there and doing well.
     
  7. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg 1K Member
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    I know a highly successful academic urological surgeon who is extremely color blind
     
  8. dobonedoc

    dobonedoc Senior Member
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    You should know by now if your color-blindness is going to hinder your ability to operate. If you doubt yourself, so will others. If you are able to do the work (you've done the rotations, right?) make it known. If you know that your skills are not what they should be, for your own happiness and for the good of your patients, do not pursue it. You decide. What ever you do, do not allow others to make the decicison for you - it will only make you bitter 20 years down the road.
     
  9. fremitus

    fremitus BRAIN DOC AND SHRINK
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    Right now I do have doubts because I'm not rotating in the wards just yet. Unlike you guys there in US medical schools, we start our clinical years not in the wards but in the classrooms. We spend our entire third year studying the clinical subjects theoretically. Aside from PBL sessions, CPC's, 4 hours a week in the pediatric wards, and another 3 hours in the internal medicine ward, we are still spending hours in class.

    Hopefully if I pass this semester, I will start my rotations on April 1st, which will also be the official start of 4th year for me.

    So you see, Im still not sure if my color blindness will hinder me from operating properly.

    You are right! I should decide for my self! But you know what? I was only asking for your advice in the first place. I never asked anybody to decide for me. Anyway thanks for the relply.
     

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