July 26, 2021

Disability Discrimination Is Hurting the Medical Profession

A new investigation on the Huffington Post has spotlighted a troubling trend in medicine. Many doctors with disabilities experience persistent discrimination at the hands of other physicians and medical professionals. In a profession that regularly requires workers, especially early career workers, to put in grueling shifts of 80+ hours a week, doctors with disabilities are perceived as unable to live up to the grind.

Ableism and disability discrimination have long been part of medical culture, where, according to interviewees, doctors are lauded performing Herculean tasks of self-deprivation and where asking for accommodations is seen as a weakness.

This issue of discrimination is systemic, demonstrated by the fact that only 3% of doctors have disabilities, compared to roughly 25% of the US population. Such a discrepancy indicates that people with disabilities may be deterred before they even pursue a career in medicine or are squeezed out after they are diagnosed.

The pandemic, however, has brought disability accommodation into the public discourse, and many physician, medical student and other medical profession advocacy groups have jumped on the opportunity to press their case for making the medical profession more inclusive and accepting of disability the same way offices in other industries have had to focus on accommodations for their workers.

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