Earlier this year, postgraduate student Zachary Featherstone took a lawsuit against Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU) on the basis of unfair discrimination.
Featherstone interviewed with PNWU in 2013, and deferred his place for a year to secure state funding for his study supports. Importantly, the State of Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation offered to cover these costs if PNWU did not.
When Featherstone reconnected with PNWU last spring, the university advised that “in good conscience” it could not allow him to become a doctor, for different reasons.
Successful Deaf Professionals Prove Ability
However, the ruling judge in the case noted, “The patient safety and clinical program concerns raised by PNWU are unfounded, [with] the growing trend of successful deaf healthcare professionals” and that PNWU had “legal obligations” under the ADA.
Current AAMC (American Association of Medical College) guidelines note that an institution cannot reference safety concerns to deny a student admission, unless it can prove the student represents a direct threat to patient safety that “cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures.”
“Historically, doctors don’t like ‘sick’ doctors.”, says L. Scott Lissner, ADA coordinator at Ohio State University. “They think, ‘That’s for the patients. That’s not for us.’ ” Lissner’s assertion is backed by similar reports from the medical field.
The Pain Of Arranging Facilitation
Most medical students with hearing issues, spend two hours per week arranging facilitation such as realtime captions or transcripts, according to a survey, with a few spending up to ten hours on this task every week – before they even move into employment.