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Color blindness and Med School

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by carmstrong, Sep 9, 1999.

  1. carmstrong

    carmstrong Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 1999
    Dallas, TX 75287
    Just a quick question for all of you students in med school. I am color blind and not just the red/green variety of 30% of all males. I have fairly complete color blindness (or so the eye doctor tells me). It is an interesting concept because to me it appears that I see an entire spectrum of colors, but that is explained to me as different shades of black adn white. Well back to the point, my sophmore year my dad asked me if this was going to have an affect on my capacity to be a doctor. I honestly had never given it much thought. When I asked my advisor he didnt know either. He called KU med school and asked them and they said that they treated it as any other handicap and concessions would be made to help me with any problems. My question is what affect is this going to have on my studies. I had a terrible time in patho lab. It was one of my only B's but to be honest I was glad to get the B. The slides all seemed to look the same(not everything but certain pathogens that could be differentiated by color such as the glucose/sucrose/litmus milk ect). Can you think of a practical way that they will be able to facilitate this problem? Probably more importantly I want to know how this will will affect me as a practicing doctor. My aspiration is to become a family physician so it may have less of an impact than other areas. Any input would be appreciated.
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  3. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 1999
    We have several students in my class who are color blind, in varying degrees. It does make histo and path more challenging to them, I am sure, but the instructors tried to screen for color blindness early, and discussed ways to deal with the problem with the students in question.

    When it comes to stains, it is always reasonable to ask what is the stain used in a particular specimen. Stains are used to make particular things stand out, so have the instructor or the TA show you a couple of slides using a certain stain and the structure that is being sought (for instance, iron, amyloid, lipofuscin, etc). You will then have to remember how its "shade" of color differs from the others on the slide. As for things that stain the same, for instance any organ in H&E, use morphology and tissue organization to ID where you are.
  4. Henry

    Henry Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 1998
    Just at thought!
    You may have problem to differentiate dermotological symtoms of the patients. However, this problem can be resolve by having a medical assistant, eg. a PA, to assist you in your practice.

    I hate to see you giving up your dream for medicine.
    I believe that you can be a very good physician because you really understand what the patients are going through!!

    So often, physicians will forget about the patients' emotional status and only focus on the medical problems.

    Good Luck and Keep going
  5. Lee

    Lee Sleestack Staff Member Administrator 10+ Year Member

    Dec 31, 1999
    Well, I am in the same boat as you. I have significant color blindness (yellows, reds, greens). Being color blind kept me from pursuing my original dream of being a pilot, but it hasn't affected my ability to practice.

    I do have difficulty detecting redness of the tympanic membrane and with some mild skin problems. But for both problems, I have methods to get around them.

    Even if you can only see in greys, I think you'll do fine.
  6. cliff

    cliff Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 1998
    Southern California
    Contact WesternU. We have a new dean who was very big in the handicapped and disabled accesability world. She is legally blind I think. But we have a blind student rolling though classes with us. He is incredible. He took the 1st anatomy practical and was able to touch everything and is going to do well. Grades are not back , but he knew his anatomy well. This is true.

    Her name is Dean Primo at Western U.

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