Dreams on Hold – A personal story of an aspiring medical student

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The summer before starting medical school, most of my friends traveled and had fun. But I could not.

The months of June and July marked 60 days of complete horror—the lowest point in my life. First, my sister suffered 
a near-death medical complication. Then, for the first time in my life, I experienced discrimination due to an unexpected medical diagnosis.

My discrimination story started on June 20, 2011. The director of admissions at (X) Medical School notified me that
I had been accepted into their program and offered a generous scholarship to attend. Because of this scholarship and the potential to obtain in-state residence, I dropped the other medical school I had been considering, including a $2,500 enrollment deposit.

I began the grueling paperwork to matriculate to (X) Medical School. It took nearly a week to schedule doctor appointments, fill out health forms, get required blood work done, look for apartments, and apply for financial aid. The following week, I traveled across the country to finalize an apartment lease. I returned home less than 24 hours later, exhausted but having successfully signed a lease.

Then my doctor called and said, “You have hepatitis B.” The nightmare began after that call.

The next day, (X) Medical School’s Student Health Services demanded that I have further blood tests within three days; otherwise, their committee would not be able to review my file before the start of classes.

I completed all of the tests, and the results were sent to the committee within a week. I pleaded with the committee 
to keep me enrolled, and I even agreed
 to drop out of medical school if the antivirals did not work.

The response from (X) Medical School came one week before orientation started: I was deferred until next year.
 In addition, my scholarship was revoked. They demanded that I sign a contract accepting deferment with conditions, including no guarantee of readmission and I had to sign within a week of receiving this devastating news.

At that moment I had to juggle not only my new medical diagnosis, but also the fact that I had a lease that could not be cancelled or sublet, a full year without any plans, and uncertainties about my future.

The nightmare still lingers. However, 
I am slowly getting back on my feet. The antivirals are lowering my viral load. I am working in public health and reapplying to medical schools. My future is still uncertain.

Note: This story is one of the four cases that galvanized the Hepatitis B Foundation into action. At a June 2011 meeting convened by the CDC, the HBF and other national thought leaders worked with the CDC to update their 1991 hepatitis B recommendations for health care workers and students, which were just updated, July 2012. It is hoped that the newly Updated CDC Recommendations for the Management of Hepatitis B virus- Infected Health Care Providers and Students  guidelines and advocacy efforts of HBF and others will make a dent in hepatitis B based discrimination.  Please note that these newly revised guidelines strongly state that hepatitis B is not a condition that should prevent anyone from entering or practicing in health care.

5 Responses to Dreams on Hold – A personal story of an aspiring medical student

  1. this is bullsheet, you are giving bad impression those infected by by Hepatitis B
    this is one of most common infection in the word then why you pple are posting such lie story
    uslesss

    • This story was written by a young man who has HBV and is telling his personal story. Sadly Ankush, people with HBV are discriminated against due to their hepatitis B infection. It even happens here in the US and it is far worse in other parts of the world despite the large number of people that have been infected (1 out of 3) and the 350 million chronically infected with hepatitis B. I hear from people every day that are unable to find work just because they are HBsAg+. It isn’t right or fair, but it’s happening all over the globe. if we don’t all make an effort to raise awareness, HBV discrimination will continue throughout the world.

  2. This student remains positive and willingly advocates for himself and others. Such a shame that the story is true and such discrimination exists. So glad to see that he will not remain a victim!

  3. People are negatively affected by their diagnosis every day, and it is because of stories like this that we must ALL continue to work towards eliminating discrimination against HBV. Only by increasing awareness and openly talking about hepatitis B can we remove the stigma. I am proud that the HBF has taken such a stand, and am so glad that the new CDC guidelines will help move us forward towards our goals. I applaud the bravery and committment of this student, and am pleased to have such a dedicated colleague and friend.

  4. Very sad for such an experience.I encourage him to believed in himself since it is a common disease within us.You may for the first time be panic and disturbed but after going through the right counciling you will be ok.People live with it the rest of their life and others get died out of it so it depends on each individuals.But the problem is about the tecnical know how of the viral especially in GHANA or Africa.
    YASIMO KOFI MOHAMMED
    VICE PRESIDENT
    THEOBALD HEPATITIS B FOUNDATION
    ACCRA.GHANA
    TEL.233 244941903.
    http://www.theobaldhepb.com /aowusu.ghsites.net

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