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An argument for more doctors with disabilities

Milwaukee public broadcasting station WUWM recently aired what it calls "The Case For More Doctors With Disabilities."

As our readers know, many people who suffer disability through injury or illness can find that they face discrimination in the workplace from employers, supervisors, managers or co-workers. 

One of the physicians profiled suffered a spine injury while in medical school that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He said he gets around the Boston hospital where he works with a wheelchair.

While life in a wheelchair has obvious drawbacks, it has some advantages, too, the doctor says.

"Rather than thinking of myself as a physician with a problem, a limitation, a weakness, I've tried to think more of myself as someone who has an inability to walk and has many more strengths from that inability to walk," he says, "including an increased ability to empathize with patients in wheelchairs and elderly patients who have mobility impairments."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in the United States, 22 percent of adults (about 53 million) have some type of disability. Among 2 percent of practicing physicians have a disability, research shows.

One of the great dangers of disabilities is many people with disabilities get less routine medical care. That means infrequent dentist visits, flu vaccinations, vision care and the like. They also have higher rates of untreated cardiovascular risks such has obesity and hypertension.

Another downside to disability is discrimination in the workplace. When an employer won't even consider hiring you or when a supervisor promotes other, less qualified employees ahead of you, careers and earning power can sustain long-lasting damage.

Contact an employment law attorney with Milwaukee's Alan C. Olson & Associates to learn how we can help you fight for maximum compensation in disability discrimination matters.

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