March 23, 2022

The Columbus Dispatch: Basic healthcare for people with disabilities should be the norm, not a specialty. | Opinion

Most people would agree that a well-trained physician — or nurse, patient care tech or any other healthcare professional — should be prepared to give people effective care regardless of gender, race or age. That’s Inclusivity 101. But for too many in healthcare, Inclusivity 101 leaves out a very large group: people with disabilities.

With between 20% and 25% of Americans living with a disability, it’s time for medical education to become fully inclusive.

Each of us knows personally, from our different perspectives, what can happen when someone with a disability encounters a medical provider who hasn’t been educated about disability.

The problems start with assumptions that are often not only wrong, but harmful. Too many doctors and others assume that a disabled patient’s life is defined solely by the disability and has little quality. This can lead them to underestimate how full the life of a person with a disability can be, and that might translate to less-aggressive treatment or even declining to treat at all.


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