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These Doctors Admit They Don’t Want Patients With Disabilities


“Some will find every excuse to not see you. They may say, ‘Our machinery isn’t ok for you. Perhaps you shouldn’t are available.’” Or doctors may have trouble examining him because they can not get him onto an exam table, so he said they’ll tell him directly, “I actually don’t know what to do with you. Perhaps it’s best to go elsewhere.’”

He hesitates to complain, “You wish the doctor to be in your side,” he said. And he worries that the doctor might spread word that he’s a difficult patient, making other doctors spurn him.

Dr. Lagu said there are not any easy solutions. One change she would really like to see, which the National Council on Disability proposed this 12 months, is including disability in the information health care systems collect about their patients. Not doing so makes it not possible to trace disparities in treatment and outcomes.

“We’ve got data on racial disparities because health systems are forced to gather data on race,” Dr. Lagu said.

Doctors must know ahead of time that they shall be seeing a patient with a disability. All too often, Dr. Lagu said, a patient will call and explain their disability, however the doctor’s office doesn’t convey the message to the provider. “At the tip of the day, once they get there, the doctor still doesn’t know the patient is coming,” she said.

Dr. Iezzoni said accessibility is one other high priority for patients. That features equipment, like exam tables with adjustable heights and scales that may weigh everyone, in addition to communication accommodations for those whose hearing, vision or speech is impaired. Many patients also want doctors to have some knowledge about their conditions while appreciating a patient’s extensive knowledge of how disability affects their day by day lives.

But that’s just the beginning.

Relating to discriminatory considering around disability, “I do know obviously that we now have to alter the culture of medication,” Dr. Lagu said.

Neelam Bohra contributed reporting.

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