“One-fifth of all Americans have a disability, but less than 1 percent of doctors do. That’s slowly starting to change—to the benefit of medicine and patients.”
Photo illustration by Slate. Images via rashadashurov, oculo/iStock.
“When Dr. Bliss Temple was in training, she remembers being in an elevator wearing her white coat and her stethoscope when a patient who was using a wheelchair got in. Temple is paraplegic; she also uses a wheelchair.
“We checked out each other’s chairs, and then he looked at me and said, ‘Oh! You’ve joined the enemy.’
“More than 56 million Americans have a disability of some kind—nearly a fifth of the country. Yet a vanishingly small percentage of doctors have a disability of any kind—estimates vary and data is scant, but the consensus suggests that the number is somewhere around 1 percent.”