Studying your own illness – A Quirk of Medical Education

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Picture this. You’re a medical student sitting in a lecture theatre, learning about a condition in which you are already an expert; not because you have seen a patient with the condition before, but because you have lived the real experience yourself. As Henry Marsh explores in “Do No Harm”, medical students often develop a false understanding that that disease happens only to patients, seeing doctors as superhuman humans who are immune to disease and disability. This perpetuates the concept of a healthy, neurotypical, non-disabled doctors, whereas the reality is vastly different. We do not know the true proportion of doctors that are affected by disability. This is due to hesitancy about disclosing such information, from a fear of being treated unfavourably or lack of support from the workplace. In a 2020 BMA survey reported in ‘Disability in the medical profession’, only 36% of disabled doctors and medical students felt comfortable...

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