Transcript: Trust me, I'm a disabled doctor

This is a transcript of Trust me, I'm a disabled doctor as first broadcast on 12 June.

HANNAH: Sometimes people do just go 'oh you're so inspirational' and walk away and it's kind of like, clearly I'm not because I haven't inspired you to do anything!

JINGLE - This is another BBC Ouch take-over where we hand over the microphone to guest presenters, to see what they do with it.

EMMA - Hi, I'm producer Emma. This takeover has four doctors shooting the breeze about being disabled and working in medicine. So lets me them, and then I'll be back to decode some medical jargon.

HANNAH - I'm Dr Hannah Barham-Brown and together with Dr Cieran McKiernan, Dr Caroline Walker and Dr Emily Burns we'll chat about what it's like to be disabled and working in a profession where the hours are long and expectations are high.

First, introductions. I'll start. I'm Hannah, I've got Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I work as a GP trainee and disability advocate. And my random fact for the day is that I have got two pet tortoises called Livingstone and Stanhope because I wanted pets I could keep up with.

CAROLINE - Ah, that's wonderful. I'm Caroline. I've struggled with various mental health problems over the years, including bipolar disorder and addictions. I'm a psychiatrist and therapist by background. And I founded the Joyful Doctor which is an organisation that helps struggling doctors to access support.

EMILY - I'm Emily and I have dyslexia as well as also having PoTS and Ehlers-Danlos. And my random fact is that alongside being a doctor I'm a qualified clinical hypnotherapist and health coach.

CIERAN - I'm Cieran McKiernan and I'm the only male in the room. I work in emergency medicine and my disability is I am a diabetic for many years and I'm a bilateral below-knee amputee. And the random fact is I can now buy second-hand shoes without worrying about catching a verruca.

HANNAH - Nice.

EMILY - That's really handy. I never thought it about like that before.


EMMA: Oooh, they do love their jargon don't they. PoTS if you don't know, is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Those who have it experience symptoms like light headedness when moving from lying down to a sitting or standing position. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which we may have mentioned once or twice before, is a connective tissue thing which causes all sorts of problems from random dislocations to digestive issues. It's all good and understandable from here so let's crack on.

CAROLINE - As with all Ouch Takeovers there's a tea tin full of questions to help us along; none of which we've seen in advance. We'll take turns in reading them and I'll go first. First question - drum roll from the tin.

How does being disabled actually affect your work? Are there things you can't or genuinely shouldn't do? Ooh.

EMILY - I think one of the problems is that you turn up and you don't necessarily know exactly what the job's going to look like and you find out a lot of things as you go. One of those things was that I can dislocate my shoulder while doing CPR, so now I just try and organise it so that I'm not the one doing the chest compressions; I'm doing something else. But yeah, that was a little bit of an awkward moment definitely.

CIERAN - Having worked in the speciality I did for many years before actually becoming disabled properly I had my own expectations. So, I knew what I was going back to. And I think the seniority was that I could delegate things a bit more.

EMILY - That's handy.

CIERAN - And tell people who I want to do the CPR or use the modern equipment. We had a long discussion some time of some of the procedures, oh you might be better sitting down. To which I said, well to be fair everybody's knees might be better sitting down.

HANNAH - That's just wonky, that's just…

CIERAN - Yeah, and it's got nothing to do with the disability. But if you think things through sometimes…but I personally don't see any restrictions to my work as yet.

CAROLINE - I actually see a lot of advantages to having the disabilities I do with my mental health problems. I think they make me even more compassionate and able to empathise with patients a lot of the time. Right, I'll pass along the tin.

HANNAH - Next question. There I rustled the tin because I didn't have a drum roll so I make up for it. Right, are you on high alert for patients and symptoms similar to your own?


HANNAH - Yeah, all the time. I think one of the challenges of having quite a rare syndrome is that a lot of us have waited a long time to be diagnosed, and potentially could and should have been diagnosed earlier; it's just that a lot of doctors aren't taught about Ehlers-Danlos. And Emily's nodding furiously at me across the table, because a lot of us get diagnosed a lot later than we would have hoped. And by the point we are diagnosed we're actually quite physically unwell.

EMILY - We joke about sort of seeing bendy people, like the sixth sense seeing dead people, because you start to feel like you're seeing it everywhere. It's meant to be a rare disease but the rheumatologists say actually maybe it's not such a rare disease and it's just not being diagnosed.

But I had one patient who was due to go home with a diagnosis of query malingering, which means potentially faking all of your symptoms, who was in a really desperate state. And it was just by chance that I was switched on to the ward that day and I just happened to see her history and this is not right, the EDS flags were flying at me. And I went and saw her, watched the way she was walking and thought, you've got weak hips. And I asked her various screening questions from the EDS toolkit and specific questions that are quite something that you wouldn't think of if you didn't know about the condition, and it turned out that she had EDS and really, really severe PoTS which were causing her symptoms. And it was confirmed by a neurologist cardiologist. And actually it's really changed her life. I've been able to present the case at a conference and as a poster as well. So, it's that educating other doctors at the same time.

But it's a tough balance because sometimes we can end up talking about our conditions to other doctors in order to educate them, when actually we don't want to be sharing our personal information or we don't want to be constantly talking about our condition; and I'm sure that Caroline and Cieran might experience this as well.

CAROLINE - I don't have to look very far to be honest to find doctors with mental health problems. One in four of the general population has mental health problems, and there's some evidence to suggest doctors have even more. So, it's not so much a matter of me going hunting for it to be honest; I kind of trip over it wherever I go.

And actually I'm really proud to share my story and I'm really glad to because I think doctors often don't have enough positive role models to look up to who have disabilities of one type or another.

CIERAN - I probably have to look a little bit further to find people who are as legless as me [laughter], without being in the pub. But one of the things that you bring into any consultation is that you have the experience and knowledge of being a patient. And while sometimes there is the possibility that you bring in your own thoughts and feelings about that you just have to try and have a blanket empathy with patients, but to say I've been there, I realise it's not a good thing sometimes being on the other side of the fence and being a patient. I've seen people with sore ankles and feet but unfortunately I'm still made to do that even though I claim I can't empathise with them anymore. [Laughter] But it allows other people to see the difficulties and try and embrace those and come forward and say, well actually I feel like that, and I can tell you about this and those sorts of things.

HANNAH - Yeah, I think that's a good guide to think of it if you're sharing in order for it to be helpful for them that's okay.

EMILY - Yeah.

HANNAH - It's about you that it's perhaps not so okay.

EMILY - And I think it's also really important that it's you that's sharing and not a colleague on your behalf. Because I've had that once before where a colleague has told a parent in a paediatric hospital that I had Ehlers-Danlos and then the parent came chasing me down to ask about their child. And they weren't one of my patients and it was just actually quite difficult; whereas if I'd had permission first. So, I think it's important to think about that as well.

CAROLINE - Do you find that harder do you think when you have some physically visible disability, so where people can see that you're in a wheelchair or have a stick?

HANNAH - I think people do feel they can ask questions of us. And that can be quite weird. I mean, firstly you often have to convince people that you are the doctor. So, I've had people walk into my GP room and go, oh I'm so sorry, I didn't realise there was a patient in here. I was like, no, no, I'm a doctor, and I'm chasing them back down the corridor in my wheelchair going, no come back in, you're not going to get another appointment for three weeks!

EMILY - I find that almost all the awkward questions come from colleagues. And one of the challenges in the early years with being a junior doctor is that you're rotating every four or six months. So, if you're someone with a disability and you are in a workplace or in a social group people get to know and get used to things and then they stop asking questions. It's understandable people are curious. But then you move every four months so you get a whole new group of people who you have to explain these adaptations to or who say, oh yay you're walking today. Or, oh my goodness, you stood up, you stood up, it's a miracle! And you're like, you really shouldn't be saying that.

HANNAH - It wasn't funny the first 27 times I heard it, yeah.

EMILY - Next question.

CIERAN - My turn. Medicine seems quite hierarchical, those in casualty anyway or in the emergency department as it should be called now. How do your colleagues react to you and are you given the adequate respect?

HANNAH - I remember in an A&E actually two in the morning I roll out of this room where I've been seeing a patient onto the shop floor and this guy I've never met before, but clearly a doctor because he was wearing the doctor's uniform of chinos, shirt, weird badge hanging from belt, just walks up past me and goes, are you okay, should you even be in work? And I was not looking rough; I was wearing make-up and everything. And it was purely because I was in a wheelchair. Often I'll have a witty comeback ready, like I'm completely prepped for this, but it was just so out of context and I'm so used to not getting that from colleagues that I just burst into tears in the middle of the shop floor on, bless her, the nurse in charge who wheeled me into a corner and gave me tea and calmed me down.

And then about two weeks later he did it again. I'd done a referral and this guy walked through the department and goes, oh it's you, I mean really should you be in work? And this time I was prepped and said, yes, yes I bloody well should. And I rolled over his toe. [Laughter]

EMILY - Do you think that part of that comes from the assumption that you are injured and otherwise a fit and well person? Because I think I get the, oh what have you done phrase, rather than what's wrong with you. And I think it's because of our age perhaps partly, or maybe because we're working as doctors they assume we can't possibly be disabled full time; it must be a temporary injury. A lot of people think I have a skiing injury, and I'm kind of wondering if I can go shark attack or something a bit more exotic.

HANNAH - Just to warn you Emily, don't try skiing with EDS. I dislocated my coccyx. That's a thing: it really hurts.


CAROLINE - The coccyx being the tailbone.

HANNAH - The tailbone yeah. You can land on that quite hard.

CIERAN - I can get away with the shark story.

EMILY - I really believe you.

CIERAN - It's a great story: I saved three people but I lost my legs.

EMILY - I love it.

CIERAN - But the question about respect, I think my colleagues probably do respect me. I think I get probably a little bit annoyed with a lot of them who sort of put it down as inspirations. I made some specific decisions when I was due to lose my second leg, which was semi-elective and then sort of brought forward quite a bit, and that was in June of last year. So, in my challenge to physios and other health professionals who were looking after me it was, I'm going to get back to work within eight weeks. To which they went, really? And I went yeah. So, seven weeks and two days later I turned up. It's not inspirational it's just belligerence and trying to prove a point to myself as much as anybody else. But whether you term that as respect or gain from colleagues I don't know. It's like all these things of respect in any field, you need to earn it. But we have to earn it that little bit harder or try that little bit more to get it.

CAROLINE - Yeah, I think I've actually struggled more with respecting myself. Having been a doctor that's struggled with mental health problems I think more often than questioning whether other people think I'm up to the job, I've questioned whether I'm up to the job. And I see that in a lot of the doctors that I work with, that imposter syndrome that you're going to get found out, that you're the only doctor that doesn't know what they're doing; the self-criticism, the constantly did I miss something, is that patient going to die because of me. I think that's been more of a challenge than actually how my colleagues responded to me.

CIERAN - And that's probably a fairly common thing amongst the medical profession of doctors.

CAROLINE - Absolutely yeah.

CIERAN - You come out of school and get into one of the hardest courses; you're the cleverest of people. And you go on and you have these self-doubts, and that can be with or without a mental health thing. And then something happens to give you a knock or turns up where you get diagnosed with a condition or something happens to your physical or mental health and it just adds that little bit more pressure of self-doubt and self-awareness of what am I doing, should I be doing this. How many times a day do you actually have that thought: I'm still new to this.

CAROLINE - Sometimes hundreds.

CIERAN - Yeah, I'm still new to this nine months down the line. I still almost every time I stand up from sitting I'm going, god what are you doing. And you just have to put one false foot in front of the other and try and get on with it.


EMILY - I get the feeling of, should I be doing this, after my on-call shifts. I do reduced on-calls. I have a fabulously supportive trust, which is the hospital where I work, and they really allow me to get the experience I need for my training but in a way that works for me, which means doing at the minute one of these on-call shifts which is 12 hours of incredible intensity and pressure and you're seeing acutely unwell patients, getting bleeped on your little box on your belt and rushing to a phone to pick it up at the same time as also carrying on with your patients. So, lots of multi-tasking, which is challenging from the dyslexic perspective as well, so I have to really just make sure I write everything down. My lists are incredibly detailed and colour-coded.

But after the shifts I have a huge physical payback and I have physiotherapy to try and assist with that. But I find myself thinking, what am I doing, this is a huge impact on my life to do this. But I love the shifts and I want to be part of the rota and contribute to it. So, it is tough when you feel like you're not able to contribute as much as you want to or as much as you, I want to say - air quote - should do on a classic rota. But equally I think of those patients that gain something from me being in the system and from the wider perspective of society gaining from having a more diverse and represented medical force as well.

CAROLINE - When Cieran mentioned earlier the word inspirational I noticed Emily and Hannah both your eyes rolled upwards. [Laughter] And I just wondered is there something uncomfortable about being seen as being inspirational as a disabled doctor?

HANNAH - I think it's a word you hear a lot. And most of the time it does come from a place of genuine respect and people are trying to say something really nice and positive about you. But you're kind of like I don't have the option, okay. I mean, it's not like I'm making a conscious decision to go out and do something incredible; I'm literally here doing my job. And I think after a while you just want the anonymity that normality brought. I miss the days when I could just walk onto a ward and go hi, and just be another medical student. Whereas now when I turn up on the ward they're like, oh move everything out of the way, there's a wheelchair coming through. And it's 'oh for god's sake guys'.

EMILY - If someone knows me even a little bit, they've worked with me a bit and they say, 'oh I find it really inspiring that you're managing to do all of this and you're doing the BMA stuff as well', quite often they're saying it from a perspective of they're really struggling as well. Because like Caroline says, so many people we come across are struggling and haven't told anyone. And that I don't mind because then actually they're saying, you've got issues, they might not be the same as mine, but the fact that you're still going and that you're willing to take adaptions as well I think that's quite good.

If you can inspire someone to go less than full time, which means it's the equivalent of part time, rather than struggling on against a condition that needs adaptations that's good. But it can just be corny and really patronising.

HANNAH - I try and come back at it in a gentle, okay so inspirational is a doing word; tell me what I am inspiring you to do, what is going to change as a result of you seeing me. Because I think sometimes people do just kind of go, oh you're so inspirational, and walk away. And it's kind of like, well clearly I'm not because I haven't inspired you to do anything have I. [Laughter]

EMILY - The coach in me loves that: inspirational is a doing word.

HANNAH - It's a doing word.

EMILY - What are you going to be inspired to do - I love that, that's great.

CAROLINE - Next question.

EMILY - I have the green tin. Da, da, da! If you were disabled when starting medical school did you meet with any resistance? So, there you go, you can tell I'm dyslexic now; it scares me reading things out without having a chance to read them first. If you were disabled when starting medical school did you meet with any resistance?

CAROLINE - I think I was probably welcomed into medical school with open arms. I was an alcoholic already by that age, and I think drinking is not just accepted but encouraged at medical school - I mean, not during the lectures and stuff like that I should say. And I was already living a life through the lens of having extreme episodes of mood problems, so sometimes I'd be very down and other times I'd be very up and hyperactive. And I think that really suited actually the intense activity that you have to sustain during term time, having to work really hard and be up all night studying. So, yeah I think for me there certainly wasn't any resistance;

I think it probably came later from, not many people, I didn't get much in the way of stigma or resistance from being a doctor with mental health problems actually, I was very lucky. But just occasionally just in a look or in a question I'd get that sense that people wondered if it was really a good idea that I carried on. But no, not at medical school.

CIERAN - Yeah, I wasn't as I was only recently properly physically disabled. I started medical school with chronic ill-health. I'd suffered diabetes from the age of 13. But despite that I started medical school with the teenage invincibility. It was my issue, it didn't matter to anybody else, just get on with it, just get on with it.

If I had my current condition then do I think I would have been able to achieve that degree? I would honestly say after many evenings contemplating with the help of wine, I don't think I could. But I can't pin down as to why not. I think the strength to come to deal with losing two legs and getting back up on your feet, artificial ones at that, come with life and come with experience. And I don't think I probably had the strength at that age to do it, as a fairly honest reflection. But then I see through my own rehabilitation centre young children who have had life-altering, life-changing events who just put on a blade and jump about and do handstands and springs, to me they are the inspiration to actually just get on with it.

And back to the original question, no I don't think I could have done it if I was there. Prejudice might have been from the medical school so no. I think my goal through maybe doing all this and taking on bits and pieces is to make it more acceptable. So, ultimately it is to inspire. Inspire people to do what? To accept that not everybody is 6ft 2, suave, in their blazer.

HANNAH - Male.

CIERAN - Male. And everybody who is slightly different has a little bit to add.

HANNAH - I think there is definitely something there about allowing yourself to accept who you are and your disability before you can really expect other people to. I became disabled right in the middle of medical school and I went from running half marathons to being in a wheelchair within about six months. I really should not have carried on running with my kneecaps dislocating; that was a bad idea. My brother had just died, I ran this half marathon to try and raise some money and I ended up completely literally crippling myself. That took a lot of acceptance on my part. But I've always said that I've been really lucky in a weird way in that my mum's a wheelchair user for a completely different reason, so I've grown up around disability and with this very, very capable, slightly terrifying Cambridge law graduate of a mother who was just like, so your legs don't work now, what's your point. That helped me accept that yeah, this was my life now and I just had to get on with it.

And also because I'm, as you can probably tell, quite gobby, quite externally confident, because I will roll onto the wards and go, look I'm going to need that moving, I'm going to need this, and actually if you want me here, which I think you probably should, I'm going to need you to do this, this and this. And that's kind of enabled other people to go, okay right, she's here now, let's get on with it.

But I know when I first started training, so post medical school, I was trying to work 100% hours. So, I did a year of working 100%, and then went down to 80% but then took on more external media politics stuff on the side, and I ended up having a catastrophic burnout last year and became really quite unwell. Physically I was kind of holding it together at that point, but mentally I was just horrendous. I ended up getting signed off with stress and it was a really, really dark time. It was only when I sat down and went, I need to go to 60%, I need to try and slow down, I need to reassess all of my life decisions, when I started doing that my colleagues were like yes, yes you do. And they'd all actually been a little bit worried but never felt they could say anything. And it took me accepting that before they could then go, yeah Hannah actually needs a bit of a hand so let's just be there and do that for her.

So, I think there's quite an important internal message that needs to get through first.

CIERAN - And it could also been seen or perceived that the disabled folk are leading the way from going, so within the medical profession less than full-time training is the equivalent to working part time. It's been brought up fairly recently on lots of social media and other platforms with regards to certainly my main speciality of emergency medicine whether trainees, junior doctors would benefit more from going less than full time. So, let's hope you lead the way and able-bodied people are able to do that to do their other bits and pieces in life.

HANNAH - Yeah.

CIERAN - And I think we need to promote that that this might have been seen as a special case for the special people but actually it is best for everybody.

HANNAH - Yes. With another hat on I'm working on the gender pay gap in medicine, and we know that less than full-time training if we can make that more acceptable to men and women and everybody and make it more accessible the chances are that will improve the gender pay gap. So, if it takes a few disabled people to go, actually less than full-time training is great, then we can have a massive knock-on impact to the rest of the profession. And I think it's also important that we acknowledge average hours for doctors are often 48 hours a week; going less than full-time brings you down to normal person hours. You're just working a normal nine to five job equivalent. So, our less than full time is actually full time to a lot of other professions, and we need to be a bit more aware of that.

CAROLINE - I actually think all doctors should be working less than full time.

HANNAH - Totally agree.

CAROLINE - I think clinical medicine is a phenomenally stressful job to do. And as human beings we're not particularly well designed to cope with the pressures that we're all under at the moment.

HANNAH - Next question: are you good at knowing when you need medical attention? Do you go to the doctor or just self-diagnose?

CIERAN- I would say historically I would put myself in the latter group. I think with the experience of being hospitalised, a year of antibiotics, attending podiatry and orthotics and subsequently having someone chop my leg off - although he was the best stump maker in town allegedly [laughter] - I have learnt not to. I wanted to do a blogcast saying doctor heal thyself, underline, don't be so blooming stupid, are my words to that account. I don't think that is solely to disabled doctors or medical people; I think it's probably the medical profession as a whole. It's very difficult to make that transit from being doctor to being patient. But when it's forced on you by some colleagues who sometimes have to be brutal and blunt of, no I'm telling you to do this, hold you down and - not give you a slap - but in a verbal way, then you learn that actually the latter of self-diagnosis is rubbish.

And we will chastise and use that term loosely. Patients who self-diagnosis when they come in with their Google printout of whatever they think is wrong with them, which also always has death and cancer as the first two options…

HANNAH - Always.

CIERAN - …for those, no matter it is. You can have an ingrowing nail but you will die. So, we can't really chastise them yet ourselves use our little bit of knowledge for a branch of medicine that we have got very little current knowledge of.

CAROLINE - So, that's really interesting. Why let it all happen?

CIERAN - The simple answer would be stupidity, with hindsight. I had problems in my feet for about ten years, went to see a foot and ankle specialist who diagnosed me with having the worst case of cavus, which means I've got really high arches and used to only work on one outside bit of my foot, so I walked a bit like John Wayne having got off a horse. So, the offer was there for seven years doing some really complex corrective surgery, to which I was like I couldn't bring myself round to doing. I was glass half empty that it would all go wrong and things would happen, and I was functioning at the minute so I'm just going to keep on functioning.

CAROLINE - A bit like denial I guess.

CIERAN - Oh absolutely. That invincibility thing was still there are the back of my head. So, over the following years on both feet I had multiple metatarsal fractures, that's one of the long bones in the foot that David Beckham broke and caused lots of problems, so I broke many, many of those. And essentially would just put on a moon boot, which is a little supportive moon boot, and walk around the department all day and all night doing that, getting chastised, getting shouted at. But I enjoyed my work, perhaps a little bit too much, so continued that.

And reached a point where two years ago I was on a trip to London, had broken a foot walking in the department the night before, put on one of these boots and came to London. It's a big place; you have to do lots of walking. Developed a blister which was on the sole of my foot, decided I'll stick a bandage on that, all fine, I can do that. And a week later that blister was about a 5cm x 5cm big hole in my foot. So, I had some enforced bed rest, some antibiotics, it wasn't getting better, no end point, how long am I going to be stuck here. Sitting in a single room in a nice big hospital in Glasgow was lovely unless you wanted to get out and do things. So, I made the choice of asking people what they thought if I got my leg chopped off, and asked them in that sort of outright way. I surprised a few colleagues.

One colleague, who I won't name on this but he knows who he is, said if you're thinking about it I know someone. So, he got a friend who was a prosthetist who came and told me all about the chances of outcomes etc. And I said yes, sign me up. That was a Tuesday. I was due to get it on the following Monday. I became septic, had a raging infection and became very unwell and ended up getting done as an emergency on the Saturday morning.

CAROLINE - I think it's really interesting what you said about loving your work perhaps a bit too much.

CIERAN - Yeah.

CAROLINE - Because I think as doctors we often put our work ahead of our health.

CIERAN - Yeah. But every five years to get revalidated with the GMC you need to do both the multisource 360 degree feedback from colleagues, and you also have to do a patient feedback thing. So, I had an appraisal over the last few months, my appraisal was very good but it said, the thing that worries me is you need to take better care of yourself. Since then I have been. Have to.

EMILY - And actually the General Medical Council, our regulator, one of the things doctors are really scared of them, for various reasons, but one of the reasons is because if you have a health condition or disability you have to notify them. But they are very clear that if you have insight and you're looking after yourself and you're following the care that's recommended and suitable for you they don't mind, as long as you know it's not affecting your work and you know you can stop.


CAROLINE - So, a fantastic final question here from the tin: what support is out there for disabled doctors?

HANNAH - So, I do a lot of work with the British Medical Association, so I kind of have to say, please if you're having problems do get in touch with the BMA because we've got loads of support, particularly around bullying and harassment and less than full-time needs. But yeah, we're always really, really keen to support disabled doctors. And there's a phone number of 0300 123 1233.

CAROLINE - Ah, said in such a beautiful radio voice as well. I'd just like to signpost the joyfuldoctor.com website. It's got a list of 40 or so free resources for doctors on there as well.

CIERAN - And I would put out for your local occupational health who are up for a lot of stick sometimes, but actually if you approach them they're generally in my experience fairly helpful.

CAROLINE - Yeah, mine too.

EMILY - Yeah, occupational health have been a huge support for me; I've been really lucky. I would say as well Royal Medical Benevolent Fund is open for medical students and doctors. And you don't have to be completely penniless. Please if you're struggling or you need an adaption, something is going on, approach them because actually they have a pot of money available to help people.

CAROLINE - There's actually a financial portal now that links all of the five major charities that can give money to struggling doctors and medical students. It's called Help Me I'm a Doctor. Just google that.

HANNAH - And final shout-out for Wonky Teacups which is our Facebook group for all doctors, all allied health professionals with any kind of chronic health problem.

EMMA - That was beautiful. Do your end bits please.

HANNAH - There's an end bit?

CAROLINE - There's an end bit with a script.

EMILY - Are you a disabled doctor with something to add? What should the next Ouch Takeover be? They love hearing from you so do get in touch. Their email is ouch@bbc.co.uk and they are @bbcouch on Facebook and Twitter.

CIERAN - Every new episode of this podcast will drop directly into your device if you subscribe to Ouch on the BBC Sounds app. Go on, apparently do it for me, go on, go on. [Laughter]

HANNAH - So, that's it for this disabled doctors Ouch takeover. Thanks for listening. Bye.


JINGLE - BBC Sounds. Music, radio, podcasts.


Title: Trust me, I'm a disabled doctor

Short summary:

Limb loss, dyslexia, Ehlers Danlos syndrome and mental health difficulties, and that's just the medical staff.

Long summary:

An A&E consultant, a psychiatrist, and two junior doctors swap notes on being disabled in the medical profession.

Emergency medicine consultant, Dr Kieran McKiernan, speaks on the perils of self-diagnosis. He lost his leg after failing to treat a blister which became a 5cm-sq hole in his foot.

Trainee GP, Dr Hannah Barham-Brown's wheelchair means she's regularly mistaken for a patient, while Dr Emily Burns spotted one patient's 'diagnosis' of Query Malingering - a euphemism for faking it - was actually Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a rare condition she has herself.

Dr Caroline Walker says she hasn't got to go far to find doctors who, like her, have mental health difficulties.

The foursome chat about the ups and down of the medical profession, the ambition to embrace diversity and how working less than full-time hours could be beneficial to all junior doctors.

Produced by Emma Tracey

Limb loss and dyslexia - and that's just the doctors

The revealing world of disabled doctors

Behind the curtain with disabled doctors

'I can dislocate my shoulder while doing CPR'

'Seeing bendy people and convincing people you're the doctor'

'I have to convince people that I'm the doctor'

'All the awkward questions come from colleagues'

The 'belligerent' doctors who are not inspirational

'Putting one false foot in front of the other'

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