Tagged with: disability community discrimination medical community tension treatment
There is long-standing tension between the medical and disability communities.
This tension exists for good reasons, including: a history of absolutely atrocious treatment of people with disabilities by the medical field, continued discrimination in places of medical treatment and by medical professionals, and the way that all of society has adjusted to the notion perpetuated by the medical community (whether intentional or not) that disability is an individual problem that must be cured through medical treatment.
Does this mean that individual medical professionals are bad? Absolutely not! Does this mean that medical treatments should be done away with? Far from it! I do believe that there are so many good ways that medicine can be used to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
What it does mean, though, is that we must continue to strive for equality, accessibility, and general fair treatment for people with disabilities in all ways, including medical care. We need to partner together to continue to push for a general understanding that, yes, medical treatments can improve lives, but people must be given a voice in the process and maintain their choice and dignity. And, because of the influence that the medical community has on society in general, we need them to join in the push to help all of society recognize that instead of viewing individuals with disabilities as people who are simply in need of a cure, we must accept and include everyone as full members of society and find ways to fix the problems within society that lead to exclusion.
I stand somewhere in the middle of the tension between these two communities. I won’t back down from the push for rights for people with disabilities – that is my primary concern. But I am far from willing to say that there is no place for medical advancements that change the lives of people with disabilities, the course of a disability or prevent disability. What I do know, though, is that we must be careful about the messages we send when discussing advancements that prevent, treat, or cure disability, even if we wholeheartedly believe our intentions to be good…and we must remain conscious that there is much room for improvement in the treatment of people with disabilities within the context of medicine (and all other parts of society, for that matter).
In any case, I believe it is important for us to continue to engage in critical and reflective conversations about these matters – with everyone at the table.
In the news:
Those are the thoughts that were rolling through my mind as I read through recent news articles about situations where disability was prevented. Articles that, I honestly admit, I found really interesting – and exciting. You can check them out below…and make your own judgments.