Ableism in the Medical Profession

  • May 10, 2021
  • BakerLaw

In a recent article, BBC News has reported on the discriminatory treatment experienced by disabled medical students in the pursuit of accommodations for their disability-related needs. Referred to as “ableism,” perceptions within professional circles of medical students and professionals with disabilities as inferior and less competent has resulted in many not getting the accommodations that they need.  You can read the full article here (link).

These perceptions have also impacted the interactions between doctors and their disabled patients. They have resulted in doctors either downplaying what their patients tell them or refraining all together from accepting disabled patients. While medical schools around the globe have begun to provide training focused on disability, a greater representation of disabled physicians, who are often in the best position to understand the needs of their patients, could improve the patient experience.

This lack of representation is often attributed not only to the barriers faced by disabled applicants in the admissions process, but the stigma that disabled medical students face in seeking the accommodations they need. While progress has been made on the issue, there is more work to be done.

Are you a student in a professional medical program or application process, and have been denied an accommodation? Or perhaps you are a patient that has been denied treatment on the basis of their disability? If so, please reach out to the bakerlaw team (link) to find out how we can help. You can also learn more about our health law practice here (link).

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