Doctors who challenge misperceptions

“You can’t be a doctor … you’re a cripple!”

Yes, a patient once said that to one of our surgeons. Mostly, of course, patients get past a doctor’s disability very quickly. In fact, we have a few doctors unable to use a limb, and they are beloved by patients and students. See our story last week on USF Health’s Dr. Diane Straub, gold medalist at two Paralympics, here.

Dr. Diane Straub, a USF Health pediatrician, won gold medals in the Paralympic Games in 1992 and 1996.

The story prompted an interesting exchange among our faculty members who share physical disabilities. Like the Paralympians, they stretch the minds of us all, as colleagues, students and patients. The athletes of the Paralympics, and Oscar Pistorius in the Olympics, prove that disabilities don’t prevent extraordinary athleticism. Our doctors prove disabilities don’t prevent extraordinary service in health care.

Physicians like Dr. Straub remind us to see another perspective. The need to see beyond each other’s differences is one more tool we can focus upon as we work on learning and using the tools of emotional intelligence.