Intended for healthcare professionals


Disabled as a medical student, enabled as a doctor

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 16 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1455
  1. Daniel Maughan, medical student (
  1. Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff

    I was involved in a road crash more than three years ago, just after I had completed my second year at the medical school at University College London. The crash resulted in substantial lesions in my right brachial plexus. As you can imagine, the loss of function in my right arm has had, and is having, a considerable effect on my training in medical school.

    Needless to say, I have encountered difficulties, but not nearly as many as I expected. Clinical examinations were the first obstacle, but I have found that there are alternative techniques to be used. Some examination techniques I am unable to perform, such as palpation of the kidneys. Thankfully, on occasions when examinations are not possible, pertinent investigations can be requested on the basis of the patient's history alone. The principal restraint on my career is that surgery, and other dexterous specialties, are no longer career options; I am fortunate, therefore, to have interests in areas of medicine other than these.

    I have to explain …

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