If you have been following my posts, you have probably already met Tricia Riccardi; an inspirational Self-Advocate professional colleague of mine, living and raising a daughter in the Orlando area of the sunshine state! Recently, Tricia had to endure a medical procedure called a tubal ligation. A tubal ligation is a surgical procedure for female sterilization that involves severing and tying the fallopian tubes. Once again Tricia needed to deal with medical professionals. She thinks medical professionals could possibly be the least educated individuals when it comes to the disability community, or, at a minimum, she is made to feel that way due to her past negative experiences. Tricia states “she either gets treated like she is a baby or she gets attitude from nurses.”
During this last experience, Tricia was actually asked how she goes to the bathroom. Her response to that foolish question was…”Just like you!” Just because she has a disability, it doesn’t mean she has to live with a catheter or that she doesn’t have feelings. Tricia had a brain injury, not a spinal cord injury! Her wish, for starters, is that all medical professionals get educated on the differences in disabilities.
Tricia stated “we as Self-Advocates need to be involved in training medical professionals how to be sensitive and smart about the differences and similarities in the disability world. There should be more curricula out there! And more trainings for nurses and physicians who attend medical schools!”
Medical professionals should be the well-educated ones in the world, but it is far too often that Tricia experiences ignorance in the so-called professionals that she comes in contact with regularly. She said to me “we’re lacking somewhere in our disability education. How can they help us if they don’t understand our needs and panic when they have to treat us?”
Tricia is interested in developing a curriculum for medical professionals to be used in schools around the country. If you or anyone you know can assist her in how to do this, please let her know by commenting to this post!
-Grace-Anne Alfiero, MFA