A man from Somerset County, New Jersey, who graduated from St. George’s University Medical School has dyslexia. He is suing the National Board of Medical Examiners for discrimination. He alleges that on two occasions he made a request for more time to take the test. Both times he was denied. His complaint states that he failed both tests because of his disability.
Dyslexia, Medicine, and a Federal Lawsuit
The plaintiff in question has dyslexia, a disability that causes difficulty reading and understanding the written word. It is not, as some believe an intelligence issue. People with dyslexia generally perform as well as anyone else when given a phonics-based learning environment. When the new med school graduate went to take his United States Medical Licensing Examination, he assumed that the exam board would take into consideration his disability. Instead of extra time as the board has given for other disabilities, the new doctor was twice refused.
A similar lawsuit was brought against the New York State Board of Examination in 1998. That case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, but based on an earlier ruling, it was returned to the lower courts; the state was forced to accept dyslexia as a disability.
Not long after, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website added that dyslexia can be a protected disability. A single paragraph notification allows situational differences. The DOJ does not specifically state there is a protected status for persons having this learning disability, but it does not rule it out either.
The lawsuit alleges that the Federal government is engaging in discrimination against a protected disability. The precedent set by the 1998 case will likely play a role. If the plaintiff does not win, it will open many new legal and medical doors. What it will mean for the future of both one can only speculate.
The plaintiff is asking for lost wages and most importantly, he wants to force the board to change their testing protocol. His goal is to become a pediatric physician. If successful, he may become a source of inspiration for countless youths with similar disabilities.
Philadelphia Health Care Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Med School Students
The Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. understand. We understand the complex licensing issues of this field, and we do what we can to assist doctors and med students alike. We assist physicians throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania from our Philadelphia offices. If you need us, we are a phone call away. Schedule a free consultation now by filling out this online contact form or by calling 215-569-1999.