People who read slowly and are easily distracted don’t seem like great candidates for medical school. After all, med students must be quick learners and doctors have to work quickly under pressure. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Would-be California medical students with learning disabilities filed a discrimination suit Monday saying their prospects of becoming doctors are being thwarted because they aren’t given enough time on the medical school entrance exam.
The proposed class-action suit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court by four students and two advocacy groups. It argues that students who have trouble reading are capable of learning and practicing medicine, provided they’re given enough time to complete the Medical College Admission Test in a distraction-free setting.
“Without accommodations, I really can’t show what abilities I have,” said Brendan Pierce, 28, of Oakland, who has dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. He said he’s been given extra time on his exams since junior high and has done well in school.
The Association of American Medical Colleges, which runs the exam, accommodates severely disabled applicants but says these students weren’t disabled enough since they’d done well in college. That does seem like a Catch-22. Are medical schools admitting students who did badly in college?
Maybe there are specialities for dyslexic, distractible doctors. But I have a feeling some disabilities are very relevant to the ability to succeed in medical school and medical practice.