Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Physician fighting a brain tumor

A friend of mine is a physician and is fighting a brain tumor. Fortunately, the tumor is not malignant. However, the original MRI shows that the tumor is large. I've been keeping this person in my prayers and the situation has caused me to think about the issue of brain tumors. Given how quickly this person is recovering, I'm sure this great doctor will soon return to clinical medicine.

What's amazing is that our bodies are able to adapt to significant medical challenges. I know another doctor who is undergoing a significant joint replacement operation. Another physician is struggling with significant depression. Meanwhile, other physicians may struggle with a variety of health conditions and may not realize that there are resources that can help them as they're going through these situations.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Disabled medical students get help from the GMC

Medical schools are to receive updated guidance to ensure that disabled students do not face unnecessary barriers in pursuing a medical career.

Research has found that disabled students are under-represented in medical schools; in 2009, less than six per cent of medical students declared a disability1 compared to 19% of working-age adults in the UK2.

The General Medical Council has worked closely with representatives of medical schools and disability experts to review its guidance, Gateways to the Professions: Advising medical schools, encouraging disabled students, to improve the support available for disabled students wishing to access medical education.

Professor Jim McKillop, Chair of the GMC Undergraduate Board and a member of the working group which reviewed the guidance, said:

"It is really encouraging to see more individuals with a disability seeking entrance to medical school and schools making appropriate adjustments to accommodate their needs, as for many years unnecessary barriers have stopped them from pursing a medical career.

"Diversity in the medical profession is clearly beneficial to individuals, patients and the profession itself and there is no reason why, with the help of reasonable adjustments, more disabled students should not be able to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities through a medical career."

Read more here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Disabled but not disheartened

Last week, I met a physician who was disabled but certainly not disheartened. This individual was very motivated to find a non-clinical career and to apply medical knowledge to improve public health. What a great attitude!

If you're struggling with a disability, don't get discouraged. There are a number of resource and support groups that are available to help you. Also, you may discover some new ways to apply your skills and talents. You may want to read this story about a woman with cerebral palsy who is working and supporting her mother.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blind quadriplegic certified as M.D.

Here's an interesting story from The Japan Times:

Blind quadriplegic certified as M.D.

A 27-year-old man became the first blind quadriplegic in Japan to receive a medical doctor's license in line with revisions to a restrictive law, officials of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

The awarding of the license on Thursday follows the government's revision in 2001 of the Medical Practitioners Law, when it abolished clauses stipulating that people who have trouble seeing, hearing or speaking cannot become doctors, dentists or pharmacists.

"I want to offer my support to the disabled and people with incurable illnesses," the doctor, who asked not to be named, was quoted as saying.

The officials said a disease left him blind and unable to use his limbs when he was a university student.

After a temporary break from university, he began his studies and in March took the national exam for medical practitioners, in which he had the questions read out to him and was given extra time to complete them.

Four experts and ministry officials interviewed him and assessed his qualifications and level of disability, before declaring him fit to receive a medical license.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

AMA/CMA/BMA International Conference on Physician Health 2010

The AMA/CMA/BMA International Conference on Physician Health 2010 is starting today.

Physician Health and Resiliency in the 21st Century
Oct. 3-5, 2010
Chicago, Ill.

Don't forget to subscribe to the Physician Health e-Letter here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Disability Income Insurance: What Every Physician Needs to Know

There's a great article titled, "Disability Income Insurance: What Every Physician Needs to Know." Here are some sobering statistics:

According to a recent Gallup study conducted for the UNUM corporation — although most people believe they have only a 16% chance of becoming disabled during their working years — the startling reality is that:

* If you’re under age 35, chances are one in three that you will be disabled for at least six months during the course of your career.
* Men have a 43% chance of becoming seriously disabled during their working years.2 Women have a 54% chance.
* At age 42, it is four times more likely that you will become seriously disabled than that you will die during your working years.

Click here to read the article by Reed Tinsley, CPA.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Disabled medical student sues medical school for dismissal

Here's the story (from Omaha.com):

LINCOLN — A medical student who suffers from depression has won the right to sue the University of Nebraska Medical Center and faculty members over his dismissal from school.

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday that the student, identified only as John Doe, should be allowed to pursue his claim that UNMC and its staff violated his rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act in their decision to dismiss him for failing grades and lack of professionalism.

The judges stated that while they could not say that Doe’s dismissal from school “lacked a rational basis,” they ruled that he should be given his day in court.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Resources for Disabled, Impaired or Reentering Physicians

There's a great list of online resources for Disabled, Impaired or Reentering Physicians on the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) website. Although the information is on the ACOG website, most of the links are relevant for physicians and others who are not OB/GYNs.

The list contains 3 sections:
  1. Disability Organizations
  2. Reentry or Returning to Practice Resources
  3. Organizations Offering Non-clinical Career Opportunities
I hope they'll include NonClinicalJobs.com and the Society of Physicians with Non-Clinical Careers (SPNCC) under category #3.

I also hope they'll include the Society of Disabled Physicians under category #1.

To view the resource list on the ACOG website, click here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

High court opens the door for a disabled student to become a doctor

This story is from The Times of India (Mumbai)

HC orders admission of disabled boy to MBBS

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday came to the rescue of a 19-year-old disabled student aspiring to be a doctor. Rapping the state government for its casual approach towards the plight of disabled students, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S C Dharmadhikari directed the state to provide provisional admission to Kurla resident Tarique Khan in the MBBS course.

Three per cent of the seats are reserved for disabled candidates. As per guidelines issued by the Medical Council of India, physically challenged candidates with locomotory disability of lower limbs to the extent of 70 % are eligible for health science courses.

Read more here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Feds: Employees used disabled doctor as cash cow

Here's a disturbing story from the Monitor:  Feds: Employees used disabled doctor as cash cow

McALLEN — Office staff at a Mission clinic continued to see patients and bill federally funded health care programs well after the doctor they worked for had become incapable of practicing medicine, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Despite not having medical degrees, Eliza Lozano Lumbreras, 63, and San Juanita Gallegos Lozano, 54, made diagnoses, wrote prescriptions and racked up more than $270,000 in Medicare and Medicaid bills in their employer’s name — often while he sat nearby in a near vegetative state, according to a 13-count indictment filed against them.

At one point, the doctor “was observed sitting under a desk in his office as … Lumbreras and … Lozano continued to operate the Mission clinic,” the document says.

FBI agents arrested both women Thursday, nearly a week after another man pleaded guilty to charges that he had used the incapacitated doctor’s name to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.

The 71-year-old physician — identified in court filings only by the initials R.J.P. — was declared unfit to practice medicine in 2001 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Click here to read the full story.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Disabled man receives a PhD

This is an inspiring story of a disabled man who completed a PhD. Here are some snippets from that story:

A DUNBAR man who was left disabled after being seriously injured in a car accident as a child has been awarded a PhD – after completing a thesis on the experiences of people with disabilities.

Colin Cameron, of Friarscroft, was left in a coma when he was nine years old, after a vehicle struck him while he crossed a road in the former Yugoslavia while on holiday.

It left him with several long-term disabilities, affecting his speech, restricting movement in his arms and resulting in a knee replacement. Doctors predicted he would never see, hear or speak again – let alone achieve a doctorate.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Physicians and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Do state medical board applications violate the americans with disabilities act?  This question was asked by some academic individuals (Schroeder R, Brazeau CM, Zackin F, Rovi S, Dickey J, Johnson MS, Keller SE.) at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey. Here's what they found:
PURPOSE: To determine whether medical licensing board application questions about the mental or physical health or substance use history of the applicant violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
METHOD: Content analysis of 51 allopathic licensing applications (50 states and District of Columbia) was performed at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School in 2005. Questions referencing physical or mental health or substance use were identified by a team of physicians and reviewed and categorized based on the ADA and appropriate case law by legal counsel.
RESULTS: Of the 51 applications reviewed, 49 (96%) contained questions pertaining to the physical or mental health or substance use history of the applicant. Thirty-four of the 49 (69%) state medical licensing applications contained at least one "likely impermissible" or "impermissible" item based on the ADA and appropriate case law.
CONCLUSIONS: Most state medical licensing applications contain questions that ask about the physical or mental health and substance use of physician applicants. Many licensing applications appear to be in violation of the ADA, even 19 years after enactment of the regulation. These questions do not elicit responses by which professional competence can be judged. The presence of these questions on licensing applications may cause physicians to avoid or delay treatment of personal illness.
PMID: 19474558

Schroeder R, Brazeau CM, Zackin F, Rovi S, Dickey J, Johnson MS, Keller SE. Do state medical board applications violate the americans with disabilities act? Acad Med. 2009 Jun;84(6):776-81.

Department of Family Medicine, Student Health and Wellness Center, and assistant professor, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey 07103, USA. schroers@umdnj.edu

Friday, June 25, 2010

Can disabled physicians safely practice medicine?

I came across another interesting journal article on PubMed. This one was a commentary titled, "Commentary: Granting medical licensure, honoring the Americans with disabilities act, and protecting the public: can we do all three?"

Here's the abstract:
Physicians suffer from the same illnesses as others do, and some of these illnesses may limit their ability to safely practice medicine. Individuals with of some of these same illnesses may also suffer from denial, blinding them to their limitations. Data support that, while many of these physicians do voluntarily limit their practices or seek help, not all do. Schroeder and colleagues demonstrate in this issue that in their attempts to protect the public, state medical licensing boards may have asked questions prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act. They point out an ethical tension between nonmaleficence (protecting the public from harm) and individual autonomy (respecting the rights of each individual physician), amplified by the different approaches lawyers and physicians use to address conflicts. The classic legal approach is adversarial, whereas the classic medical approach is collaborative. Both are valid approaches, but neither works well in tandem with the other. The time has come for all sides of the licensure debate to acknowledge the legitimacy of the others' concerns, to recognize the different approaches they each take, and to work together with others to find a common solution. The solution must allow boards to identify individuals with illnesses that impair their ability to practice safely and that also lead to denial of these very limitations. The solution must respect the autonomy of the individual licensee with a disability who can practice safely with an accommodation and who respects the need for that accommodation. The solution must protect the public.
PMID: 19474533

Altchuler SI. Commentary: Granting medical licensure, honoring the Americans with disabilities act, and protecting the public: can we do all three? Acad Med. 2009 Jun;84(6):689-91.

Division of Psychiatry and Psychology Specialty Programs, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA. altchuler.steven@mayo.edu

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Doctors with disabilities: licensed to practice?

Here's an interesting journal article that was published last year titled, "Doctors with disabilities: licensed to practice?"

Here's the abstract:
Doctors deal with patient's disabilities every day but many in the profession have been nonplussed to see the focus of the disability rights lobbies shift from the recipients of care to the carers themselves. Until recently the number of practising doctors known to have significant disabilities was very low and for many reasons potential medical students were deterred from entering medical education. This piece would not even have been commissioned 14 years ago when the U.K. Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was passed. It is a measure of the change in society's view of disability, reinforced by law, that the issue of whether there are disabilities which, in themselves, render a doctor Unfit to practise can be analysed and discussed.
PMID: 19728501

Snashall D. Doctors with disabilities: licensed to practice? Clin Med. 2009 Aug;9(4):315-9.
King's College, London. David.Snashall@gstt.nhs.uk

Monday, June 21, 2010

Medical students with disabilities

Here's some information from the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) about medical students who have disabilities:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has afforded new rights and protections to persons with disabilities and heightened public awareness of the needs of this population. This handbook (published in 1993) provides an overview of the ADA and the antecedent Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is intended to assist medical schools in the review and refinement of institutional policies. It is not intended as a comprehensive treatment of all the issues that might arise under the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, no is it intended to provide legal advice. Schools should consult legal counsel regarding any specific questions about particular situations or decisions.

The purpose of the ADA is to provide opportunities for persons with disabilities to compete with other applicants on the basis of their ability. Like the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA requires many entities—including medical schools—to provide certain accommodations to persons with disabilities so that they may enjoy the same benefits, services and opportunities as those without disabilities. Schools must judge persons on the basis of their ability to complete the educational program rather than on their status as disabled persons. Persons seeking admission must be able to perform the "essential functions" or meet the "essential eligibility requirements" of the program once they have been provided with any needed accommodation or modification. Each school must determine the "essential functions" or "essential eligibility requirements" of its educational program. Preadmission inquiry as to whether a person is disabled is not permitted, but a school may seek as much information as is needed to make a determination that an individual can perform the "essential functions" or meet the "essential eligibility requirements" of the educational program.

In 2005, the AAMC published an updated version of this document, Medical Students with Disabilities: A Generation of Practice, which includes a discussion of ADA-related case law generated since the early 1990s.
You can read the full document here (PDF)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Disabled physician wins fight against Unum Life Insurance Company of America

Here are some interesting snippets from a legal case where a physician fought against Unum Life Insurance Company of America:
This matter is before the Court pursuant to post trial motions brought by both Plaintiff Albert David Matthew, M.D. and Defendant Unum Life Insurance Company of America. Plaintiff brings a Motion to Correct Special Verdict, Award Prejudgment Interest, and Enter Final Judgment and a Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or, in the Alternative, a New Trial Solely on the Total Disability Claim. Defendant brings a Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, a New Trial, and a Declaration of Mistrial.

Based upon the submissions of counsel, the Court having reviewed the contents of the file and evidence in this case, and the Court being otherwise duly advised in the premises, the Court hereby enters the following:

1. Plaintiff's Motion to Correct Special Verdict, Award Prejudgment Interest and Enter Final Judgment (Doc. No. [137]) is GRANTED as follows:

a. The Special Verdict is corrected to reflect the amount of $922,906 as the residual disability benefits awarded to Plaintiff;
b. Plaintiff is entitled to the return of premium benefits in the amount of $47,358.15 as stipulated to by the parties;
c. Plaintiff is awarded prejudgment interest in the amount of $498,340 on Plaintiff's residual disability claim; and
d. Plaintiff is awarded prejudgment interest on the return of premium benefits in the amount of $28,810.
You can read the rest here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

AMA/CMA/BMA International Conference on Physician Health 2010

The AMA/CMA/BMA International Conference on Physician Health 2010 is coming up October 3-5 in Chicago, IL. Will you be attending?

The theme this year is "Physician Health and Resiliency in the 21st Century"

Learn more about the conference here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Accommodations for Medical Faculty With Disabilities

In 2002, there was an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) titled, "Reasonable Accommodations for Medical Faculty With Disabilities." Here's the abstract from that article:
An unknown number of medical school faculty have disabilities, and their experiences have generally escaped notice and scrutiny. Although most medical schools offer long-term insurance and extended leaves of absence for disability, relatively few have policies explicitly addressing accommodations for faculty with disabilities as they perform teaching, research, and clinical duties. We discuss accommodating active medical school faculty with disabilities, drawing on University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine initiatives exploring the concerns of faculty with sensory and physical disabilities. Anecdotal reports suggest that many faculty, fearing reprisals, resist seeking job accommodations such as those mandated in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Although some faculty with disabilities have found supportive academic mentors, others report that lax institutional enforcement of ADA requirements, including physical access problems, demonstrates a tepid commitment to disabled staff. Potentially useful job accommodations include adjusting timelines for promotion decisions; reassessing promotions requirements that inherently require extensive travel; improving physical access to teaching, research, and clinical sites; and modifying clinical and teaching schedules. Faculty with disabilities bring identical intellectual and collegial benefits to medical schools as their nondisabled counterparts. In addition, they may offer special insights into how chronic illness and impairments affect daily life.
This article was written over 7 years ago. How far have we come? Are we making progress in this area?

Reasonable Accommodations for Medical Faculty With Disabilities
Annie G. Steinberg, MD; Lisa I. Iezzoni, MD, MSc; Alicia Conill, MD; Margaret Stineman, MD
JAMA. 2002;288:3147-3154.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Disabled physician denied license

This is an old story, but it may be interesting for those of you who are disabled and still practicing medicine. What will you do if you are denied medical licensure? 

Disabled physician denied license
Supreme Court to rule on whether doctor may sue under AwDA
J Am Dent Assoc, Vol 134, No 3, 370-371.

Click here to read the article.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Career development for doctors with a disability

Here's a link to an old BMJ article titled, "Career development for doctors with a disability."
Doctors with disability can face discrimination and hostility from their colleagues, though they are more likely to be better employees. Stuart Mercer, general practitioner and amputee, discusses
This article was written in 1998. We definitely need some modern resources to help disabled physicians find the right type of employment. Our hope is that the power of the Internet will allow disabled heatlhcare professionals to have the ability to share their stories of successes and failures so that others may learn and get inspired to pursue the right types of career opportunities.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Disability project at the Royal College of Physicians

Disability project
Wellcome Trust funded disability project at the Royal College of Physicians

Would you like to be involved?

The RCP is looking for disabled medical practitioners and disabled individuals to be part of a focus group and exhibition based on the college's collection of 17th to 19th century prints of disability.


Representation and identity

The project will highlight the historical and contemporary stories behind the prints and look at the representation of disabled people's bodies in the past and present. The relationship between the scientific practitioner and the disabled individual will also be explored.

Participants will look at the prints and discuss historical images of disability and their relevance to disabled people’s lives today. Images and comments from participants will then be exhibited alongside the prints in a final exhibition.


Focus groups

Participants will need to attend one of the focus groups (for which a small honorarium will be paid) to take place at Shape in Kentish Town, London, on the following dates:

* Monday 5 July 2010 (BSL interpreters / palantypist provided), 10am-3pm
* Tuesday 13 July 2010, 10am-3pm
* Tuesday 20 July 2010, 10am-3pm

To apply, or for more information about the project, please contact Bridget Telfer, audience development co-ordinator: bridget.telfer@rcplondon.ac.uk or 020 3075 1430.

Learn more here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Disability Accommodation for Applicants to Quintiles

Disabled physicians are often looking for non-clinical employment. How about Quintiles?
Quintiles is the only fully integrated bio and pharmaceutical services provider offering clinical, commercial, consulting and capital solutions. 23,000 employees in 60 countries have helped develop or commercialize all of the top 30 best-selling drugs.
Here's a snippet from the Quintiles website about their disability accommodations:

Disability Accommodation for Applicants to Quintiles

We are committed to providing an equal opportunity in job application procedures for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans.

If you find our online application system difficult to use, you may submit a paper resume. Quintiles ADA job application help or you may call +1- 919-998 2000 and provide us with your physical address and we will forward an application to you.

Any misuse of this mailbox may result in your CV or resume being rejected from our system. Please refrain from using this email address unless you are duly qualified to do so.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Physically Disabled Physician

There's a 1987 article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) titled, "The Physically Disabled Physician."  The author is Stanley F. Wainapel, MD from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, and the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York.

Here's a brief synopsis of the article:
This article reviews the available literature on physically disabled physicians and discusses the attitudinal, environmental, and political barriers they may encounter. Information on 215 physicians and 92 medical students with a wide range of disabilities was analyzed. Currently available personal and technological resources are outlined and special issues pertaining to medical education are highlighted. Greater awareness and acceptance by medical peers are essential for professional success.
JAMA. 1987;257(21):2935-2938.

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN CITED BY OTHER ARTICLES

Reasonable Accommodations for Medical Faculty With Disabilities
Steinberg et al.
JAMA 2002;288:3147-3154.

Impairment vs Disability
Auerbach
JAMA 1988;259:43-43.

'Disabled' Is Not 'Impaired'
Young
JAMA 1987;258:1173-1174.

Physical Disabilities and the Study and Practice of Medicine
Martini
JAMA 1987;257:2956-2957.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jobs for disabled physicians

If you're a disabled physician and you're looking for jobs, then you may want to take a look at NonClinicalJobs.com (an online resource that lists some alternative physician job opportunities for physicians who may be disabled).   I've recently had the opportunity to speak with several disabled physicians who are looking for employment opportunities in the clinical and non-clinical setting.  The opportunities are out there, but you need to know how to find them.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Working While Disabled

The U.S. Social Security Administration has some useful information for those who wish to learn about working while being disabled. Here are some snippets from that website:
If you are getting disability benefits, we have good news for you. Social Security’s work incentives and Ticket to Work programs can help you if you are interested in working.

Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments.

And, if you cannot continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again—you may not have to file a new application.

Work incentives include:

* Continued cash benefits for a time while you work;
* Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and
* Help with education, training and rehabilitation to start
a new line of work.

To learn more, visit: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10095.html

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Handicapped vs. Disabled

Some may use these terms interchangeably. Handicapped vs. Disabled. Is there a difference? Is one politically correct?

Here's what Villanova University has to say about this matter:

A disability is a condition caused by an accident, trauma, genetics or disease which may limit a person’s mobility, hearing, vision, speech or mental function. Some people have more than one disability.

A handicap is physical or attitudinal constraint that is imposed upon a person, regardless of whether that person has a disability. A set a stairs would be a handicap for a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair.

According to eHow.com, one difference between the two terms is political correctness. Society views the term "disabled" as a politically correct way of saying "handicapped." If you want to be politically correct in your language and are not interested in the subtle difference between these two terms, use "disabled."

There used to be a society called the American Society for Handicapped Physicians (ASHP) and I've tried everything to reach them, but I haven't had any luck. If anyone knows anything about this organization, please contact us.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A journal entry: a physician with depression

This is a guest post from an anonymous disabled physician who wishes to share a journal entry:

October 12 2009

Today I went to the dermatologist to have a recurrence of the basal cell carcinoma removed from my arm. Dr. C is a wonderful, kind, a brilliant devoutly Christian dermatologist who is also beautiful tall long and lean. In the past I honestly have felt slightly jealous of her. Her beauty, her thinness, her ability to have excelled in medical school and her residency enough to get her a place in a highly competitive dermatological residency.

I am kept 45 minutes longer in the waiting room than in previous visits. The nurse finally comes to place me in a room. She asks me about any new medications changes. I shamefully tell her about the three new medications I am on for depression. Interestingly the nurse does not look at me with a sort of thinly veiled disgust when I mention these new meds. I show the nurse my new cancer and then tell her that my hair has been falling out in clumps and my nails are thin splitting and frail. She leaves the room.

In comes Dr. C, I am shocked. Is this the same person I have seen on so many visits before? She is a shadow of herself, cachexic looking with her face, chest and abdomen sunken in. Her clothing seems baggy. Her hair is dull, she is pale haggard looking, no smile today just a face made old by the look of some sort of existential pain. She seems slightly confused. The nurse gently guides her. She asks for my complaints. She looks at my arm and then my hair and nails. She then asks if I am on a diet or have started new meds. She looks on the medication list. She says “all these medications for depression? There are so many”. There is a sense of panic in her voice. I tell her this is my fourth distinct episode of depression and it is being much harder to control. I tell her I have been this ill for awhile now. She looks at me and says "I am very depressed too". She tells me that her husband and she are in therapy after 19 years of marriage. She says it is helping her husband more than her. She looks away at the floor and seems slowed down. The sadness in the room is palpable. Her nurse returns and redirects her. She goes to work shaving off and cauterizing the cancer from my arm. This she does well like her usual self.

Things you need to know about disability insurance

This is a guest article by Donald Brown D.O.

Things you need to know about disability insurance

Your need for disability insurance is greater than your need for life insurance. Most people have no problem purchasing life insurance yet they hesitate to purchase disability insurance. Physicians like anyone else are not invincible. 43% of all people age 40 will experience a long-term disability event before age 65 (JHA Disability Fact Book, 2006)

Without a disability plan in place, will you be able to maintain your standard of living if you are not working? Can your family survive on one income when most families struggle with two people employed? How long before your savings are decimated?

Student loans are a concern for physicians who are just starting out. These loans are not discharged in the event of bankruptcy. Paying them off or expiring are two ways to eliminate them. You are responsible for them even if you are disabled. SallieMae.com states on their web site that loans may be "discharged" if you are disabled. They continue to state that even if you qualify for social security disability (extremely difficult to qualify for) you may not qualify for "discharge", and it will take a minimum of three years due to Federal Regulations, during which time you are still responsible for the debt.

Monday, April 19, 2010

100 Days to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

Countdown to the 20th Anniversary of the ADA: Day 98 - Preparing the Workplace for Everyone: Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities in the Workplace

On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was the site of domestic terrorism when it was bombed by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Out of this senseless tragedy came legislation addressing the protection of federal buildings and workplaces. As we remember the events of that sad day, let us take the opportunity to ensure that in an emergency everyone - including individuals with disabilities - knows what to do and has been considered in the plan to get all occupants to safety.

Preparing the Workforce for Everyone
(http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/ep/preparing2.htm) provides guidelines that individuals, employers and emergency managers can use to create inclusive emergency preparedness plans for their workplace. Developed by an interagency council of federal agencies, the guide includes some of the best methods being used in the federal government to ensure that the needs of all individuals are considered during an emergency.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

International Conference on Physician Health

International Conference on Physician Health
Physician Health and Resiliency in the 21st Century
3-5 October 2010
Swissotel, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Hosted by the American Medical Association (AMA) in conjunction with the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

Visit www.ama-assn.org/go/physicianhealth for more information.

ePhysicianHealth

ePhysicianHealth is an online health and wellness resource designed to help physicians and medical students "be resilient in their personal and professional lives."

http://ephysicianhealth.com/

American Society of Handicapped Physicians

We are looking for active members of the American Society of Handicapped Physicians (ASHP) to learn more about this organization. The ASHP does not currently have a website and we have not had any luck contacting this organization. If anyone is an active member or has received information from the ASHP recently, please contact us.

It is our hope to collaborate with the American Society of Handicapped Physicians and to provide disabled physicians with valuable resources and tools.

Thursday, April 15, 2010