Monday, November 12, 2012

What doctors with disabilities need from the public

It isn't very often that we hear of doctors and other medical professionals with disabilities, who are still in practice - but they do exist. This isn't some myth meant to scare you as a patient, but to enlighten you that, just like many other disabled people, medical professionals are subject to the same challenging lots in life. Be it disabilities that stem from birth, or the result of diseases or accidents incurred during the course of their lives, doctors with disabilities are productive, contributing members of society. As far as the practice of medicine is concerned, many disabled doctors are still very much able to provide the services that the general public needs. Not without significant struggle both personally and socially, this is a Herculean task, but one that is still necessary. The quality of the service provided by this medical workforce is by no means subpar. They are qualified, experienced and very much enthused to help take care of an infirmed public. But what do these doctors need from us? As the general public, what can we do to facilitate them, so that they can facilitate us in return? Here are a few things we can do to make the tasks of disabled medical practitioners run more smoothly:
  1. There needs to be greater sensitivity training in medical establishments, so that staff can interact professionally with associates who are disabled. This training must start from top to bottom, and must encompass human resource and psycho-cultural elements. Staff must be able to work for, and with their professional associates who are disabled, without any incidents of disrespect or insubordination.
  2. In workplaces, there must be facilities and databases set up, so that disabled medical personnel can network with each other. While we will grow to understand and appreciate their challenges, there is fraternity in support groups that is very necessary.
  3. Disabled doctors have the same medical and health needs, like every other member of society. Just like you, they'll shop at Medix Select, they'll visit their own doctors and they require insurance. Additionally, the premises that they work on, must be fully accessible. Because medical staff make up what is known as essential services, it is important that properties can facilitate any special equipment or requirements that they have.
  4. Employers and administrative bodies need to familiarize themselves with disability discrimination legislation. Any form of discrimination is reprehensible, but there are specific terms and conditions to protect, empower and facilitate the disabled, and these cover medical practitioners as well. We must make sure that our organizations act in compliance with these laws, so that equal opportunities are always realized. 
Doctors, nurses and medical students who are disabled, are all part of the global community. They pay taxes and contribute to the growth and wellness of our society every day. Even at a domestic level, we must ensure that we do all we can to incorporate, and to facilitate their jobs. The same way in which enabled persons don't want to be discriminated against or neglected, they require the same opportunities and rights.


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