The way we see people
The pandemic still commands global and national attention. It also poses a serious challenge to scientific integrity on which we have an editorial in this issue. But other important issues demand a voice, such as disability rights, a long neglected area.
Our Theme section in this issue is about disability stretching from the prenatal state through education and employment. People with disabilities have to struggle doubly hard against multiple barriers, the strongest of which is negativity in the way we see people. Authors in the theme section speak of access to prenatal tests for disability; of tests which are futile and need to be discarded; and of whether disability should be the touchstone for deciding if a foetus lives or dies. A study asserts the need for nursing policy makers to proactively ease entry for candidates with disability into the profession; and another cogently lays out the perceptions of doctors about those with colour vision deficiency practising medicine. The concepts of inclusion and diversity are gaining ground today, but they need to be tested so that none are left behind.
This issue includes articles on how Covid-19 and the lockdown have impacted the most vulnerable among the most deprived – women in tribal communities, and of burnout suffered by hard pressed medical workers under unrelenting pressure. A discussion on the ICMR’s Do Not Attempt Resuscitation guidelines follows, as also an ethical conundrum: should valuable resources obtained unethically be banned from use in saving lives?
Cover credit: Dr Kate Grant’s image of Dr Zelda Swanepoel who shares her disability history: I work in the niche area of Dental Sedation. The importance of seeing well when cannulating and preparing drugs goes without saying. I was devastated when I had my first retinal detachment, in 2017, which resulted in my pupil being paralysed and my vision being blurred. I was even more distraught at the detachment of the retina of my good eye in 2019. I have had cataract surgery in both eyes and subsequently developed glaucoma in my bad eye. However with the help of my amazing consultants, ophthalmologist, work team, family, friends and my fiancée I can continue working and help dental phobic patients achieve their oral health goals.
Dr Grant has been painting her colleagues at work throughout the Covid19 pandemic