I don't have a sense of smell. Will this conflict with med school???

abo3433

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I was born without a sense of smell. I don't want to get into any specifics but it's a genetic thing. My brother and mother can't smell either. that's the only thing wrong--no other abnormalities. anyhow, i've never considered this a disability--never got disability checks nor applied to any school or job as disabled. with the thread about hearing impaired and medical school rejection, i'm now worried that i might be considered disabled. many schools have technical standards that state matriculants should have a functional use of smell. i know the field i choose might be limited, but does that exclude me from medicine altogether? i've worked my ass off the past four years: I scored high on the MCAT, have a high GPA, and have unique EC's in every area (according to my advisor). I already have three invitations to interview. Now I'm in a panic that all of that was for nothing. What do you guys think? When should I inform the med schools of this disability and how? I asked one of the schools I'm interviewing out if anosmia (laack of a sense of smell) would make me ineligible for matriculation. she stated that i should go through the interview process and if i get accepted then i will be sent a sheet asking if i can perform in all the technical standards. if i can't it is up to the school to decide if they can accomodate my disability. umm, so i'm supposed to spend the money and time applying, traveling, and interviewing so that they can accept me to reject me? i want some concrete answers. if you won't accept a person who can't smell tell me now so i won't even bother applying. sorry about my rambling. i'm just flabbergasted.
 

kaos

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I don't think that it would. I mean, come on. Most detection methods in medicine don't really employ the sense of smell anymore. It's just like the other post about the girl who was rejected because she was deaf. Read those posts, and apply your own disability. The opinions should be similar.

In my opinion, you shouldn't be rejected for a physical disability. You should go for the whole application thing as if there was nothing wrong with you.
 

Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

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Some of them ed schools would list in their requirements that future students should be able to recieve information via seeing something, hearing or smelling. I guess, you do not really have to mention that in you PS or somewhere else on your app if you do not want to. If you decide to mention it, be careful!
 

Spidey

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I wouldn't even mention it.
 

kaos

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Originally posted by Spidey
I wouldn't even mention it.
I'm with him. I mean, how are they gonna tell? But isn't it too late, since you've already told admissions about it?
 

Mr. H

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So has your tongue developed greater sensitivity? It's very intriguing that you can not smell, how do you TASTE! If there is something I do not like I plug my nose and the taste is basically dulled to a basal level. So do you know the taste of a Salsbury Steak? Or a scoop of Double Fudge Chocolate icecream?

do tell!
 

Blitzkrieg

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Originally posted by Mr. H
It's very intriguing that you do not smell, how do you TASTE! If there is something I do not like I plug my nose and taste!
...
 

Centrum

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Imagine that. No sense of smell. Wow. :wow:
 

Barton

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When I was an undergrad, I worked as a research assistant to an MD/PhD student who was totally blind. he had a dog and everything. I'm not quite sure exactly how he got through stuff like anatomy and histo and stuff, but he took those classes. He was also number one in his class after the first 2 years. So if being totally blind doesn't preclude one from med school, I don't know why not having a sense of smell would. Just make sure that everyone knows this when you're applying.
 

kaos

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Originally posted by Barton
When I was an undergrad, I worked as a research assistant to an MD/PhD student who was totally blind. he had a dog and everything. I'm not quite sure exactly how he got through stuff like anatomy and histo and stuff, but he took those classes. He was also number one in his class after the first 2 years. So if being totally blind doesn't preclude one from med school, I don't know why not having a sense of smell would. Just make sure that everyone knows this when you're applying.
WHOA!!:eek:
 

lola

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it may be a blessing in the medical profession not to have a sense of smell. patients can be really stinky :)
 

poloace

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i have a question-
can you taste? not that it matters at all in your admissions process- i was just really curious.

p
 

doepug

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abo3433 - Not to worry. I have severe anosmia, which means I can only smell the strongest of odors. Trust me, not having a sense of smell is a blessing in the anatomy lab and on the wards. During my pediatrics rotation, I had several patients with shigellosis (= copious foul-smelling diarrhea), and I was the only one on the team who could tolerate being around these people.

You are at absolutely no disadvantage for not having a sense of smell.

Don't mention it during the application process, unless you have a funny story to tell about it during an interview.

Cheers,

doepug
MS III, Johns Hopkins
 

leorl

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As amazing as the blind MD/PhD may be...how the hell can they accept a blind person and rescind the acceptance of a deaf person??? that's just mind boggling, and not in a good way. I hope that girl sues SLU for all it's worth.
 

abo3433

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thanks for all the positive responses. it's comforting to know of a student with anosmia who's in med school and doing fine. the whole "can you taste" thing is a very common question that I get. i can taste. although the sensory receptors in my nose are defective, so to speak, my taste buds still function. since i was born without a sense of smell, smell and taste were never coorelated. when you don't like the way a food tastes you probably don't like the way it smells (i can't smell so this is just an assumption on my part in trying to determine why i can taste) so when you hold your nose you're getting rid of half of the problem. who knows. most likely your sense of taste is a combo of smell and taste while mine is just taste. thus you probably have an enhanced tasting ability, if that makes sense. I've got all kinds of stories about not being able to smell. the nurses will call me into a patients room to change a diaper just to see if i will break down and put a mask on. i think it's hard for people to comprehend that i can not smell a thing. at least i was born knowing that i couldn't smell. my mother was born with anosmia however her whole family could smell. her mother thought she was telling lies when she said she couldn't smell food burning...and my mom thought something was wrong with herself mentally notphysically. anyhow, thanks for all the great advice.
 

abo3433

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just to clairify--i do think i can taste more than just the basal level. of course i never had a sense of smell so i really don't have anything to compare it with. what i mean is that i can taste just more than sweet, sour, salty...i do enjoy the nuances of different foods, seasonings, salsas.. perhaps my taste receptors did develop over sensitivity to compensate for a lack of smell.
 

BushBaby

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Originally posted by Centrum
Imagine that. No sense of smell. Wow. :wow:
At least you can avoid the stench of anatomy lab.

What if someone farts an everybody clears the area....do you just sit there (breathing) or do you pretend you also smell it and run?

I can't imagine what it would be like not able to smell.
 

Spidey

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Originally posted by BushBaby

I can't imagine what it would be like not able to smell.
haven't you ever been really stuffed up with a cold?
 

BushBaby

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Originally posted by Spidey


haven't you ever been really stuffed up with a cold?
yeah but you never actually think about it....you just figure you have a cold and your nose if stuffed. But living a life with no sense of smell....I can't smell if something is burning on the store or if there is a fire (assuming u can't see the smoke).
 

imtiaz

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this might actually be a PLUS you wouldn't be dry heaving at offensive odors and etc. but you don't NEED a sense of smell to be a good physician, IMO. you're fine, don't worry about it too much. :)
 

mikegoal

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one of my professors mentioned that many people who do not have a sense of smell(im guessing a more mild case then you) never know it and that there are probaly people sitting in the lecture hall with anosmia who dont even know it
 

Tuesday Weld

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Barton ,

Where did that guy get his MD/PhD?

Like others have said, I think there would be advantages to not being able to smell.

If you have a sensitive sense of smell....DO NOT become a surgeon! :eek: The odor from cutting into the skin with the laser scalpels is HORRENDOUS !!!!

It really is absolutely nauseating!! :eek:
 

Tweetie_bird

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I have not read the above posts, but I just wanted to say that I believe a lot of schools have their "technical standards" and "student expectations" on their webpage. I got a secondary from SLU (or some other place??) that had a whole list of things you should be able to do in order to stay in medical school. Not sure if sense of smell is one of them.

A sense of smell, in my opinion IS important. Although docs don't rely on that way of diagnosing anymore, there is some credence given to the "old ways" of medicine where things were diagnosed based on sight, smell etc. Make sure you can answer questions at the interview about how you will still make a good, compassionate etcetc doc. Becuse they might ask you a question like--what if a severely diabetic perosn came to you and you did'nt recognize it's diabetes soon enough? A sense of smell would tell you that most likely, the person has either been drinking or severely diabetic. Ok, that example is bogus but you know what I mean. Just my opinion.

if I was an AD COM, it wouldn't matter to me if you can smell. Often times in healthcare, it's better to NOT smell. :laugh: But you need to make sure that you convince the ad coms that it won't affect your diagnostic skills.

Tweetie
 

LizardKing

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I would think it's an advantage. Especially during your intern years where you do the downright dirtiest procedures.
 

LizardKing

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Wow.

Originally posted by Barton
When I was an undergrad, I worked as a research assistant to an MD/PhD student who was totally blind. he had a dog and everything. I'm not quite sure exactly how he got through stuff like anatomy and histo and stuff, but he took those classes. He was also number one in his class after the first 2 years. So if being totally blind doesn't preclude one from med school, I don't know why not having a sense of smell would. Just make sure that everyone knows this when you're applying.