By Wendy Lu: For Entire Post, Click Here…
ngd-The medical establishment just can’t stop itself from showing its contempt for disability…
More than a dozen doctors with disabilities say discrimination, lack of support and “grind culture” make it nearly impossible to thrive in their chosen careers.
Diana Cejas was working as a resident physician at a New Orleans hospital when doctors discovered a cancerous tumor on her neck.
The tumor had grown larger and more painful over time, eventually metastasizing to her lymph nodes. After Cejas had a successful surgery in July 2012 to remove the lymph nodes, she thought that was the end of it — but her troubles were far from over. Twelve hours later, she woke up in the intensive care unit on a ventilator. A stroke had paralyzed the left side of her body.
At the time, the then-30-year-old was training in pediatrics. Her workdays were grueling, with some shifts lasting as long as 28 hours. She was used to working up to 80 hours a week, a typical schedule for a pediatric resident. But after the stroke, she found herself taking speech therapy and occupational therapy, and figuring out how to navigate her changed body.
She was still dealing with mobility issues and post-stroke fatigue when she resumed her residency just a few short months later, fearing — as many disabled medical residents and students do — that she would fall behind in her program.
“I felt like me being out of work was inconveniencing the rest of my team. I felt really ashamed and bad about it, even though I’d just had a stroke,” said Cejas, who is now 39 and has chronic pain, permanent weakness and sensory loss in one of her hands as a result.
She tried to push through the pain at first but soon realized she needed disability accommodations. That’s when she noticed a change in the way some co-workers treated her.
When she asked for dictation software to help her with note-taking, which she often spent hours into the night catching up on, an administrator brushed her off and told her she just needed to work harder. She learned that some of her colleagues — even those who knew what she’d just gone through — were gossiping behind her back and assumed that she just wanted special treatment, even when she had to leave work to get follow-up scans and bloodwork.