Quotes from the Front Lines: Hospitals should employ more physicians with disabilities

One New York City-based NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital physician claims that while the medical profession is devoted to caring for the ill, the industry "doesn't do enough to meet the needs of the disabled."

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Dhruv Khullar, MD, an internal medicine physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and an instructor in medicine and healthcare policy research at the New York City-based Weill Cornell Medical College, claims increasing disabled physicians' representation in the profession would do more to meet the needs of patients with disabilities.

"Disabled individuals are more likely to feel that their doctors don't listen to them, treat them with respect or explain decisions properly. Doctors often make false assumptions about the personal lives of patients with disabilities. For example, women who have difficulty walking are much less likely to be asked about contraception or receive cervical cancer screening, in part because doctors assume they're not sexually active … More than 20 percent of the American population lives with a disability, but as few as 2 percent of practicing physicians do — and the vast majority acquire them after completing training. Few people with disabilities are admitted to medical school … Medical students with disabilities also have higher attrition rates than nondisabled students, partly because … they don't always receive the support they need … Patients of various backgrounds tend to feel more comfortable with physicians like them, and that's true for people with disabilities as well."

To read Dr. Khullar's op-ed, click here.

If you would like to contribute a quote for this series, please email Alyssa Rege at arege@beckershealthcare.com to be featured in "Quotes from the Front Line," a series which highlights the joys and frustrations medical personnel face while on the job.

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