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October 20, 2008


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Medical Assistant classes Los Angeles

I think having a color deficiency is not a good trait for someone wanting to be in the medical field, as stated if someone is jaundice how will that medical professional see that? That would make a huge difference in diagnosing a patient.


I agree with you though that where there's a will there's a way.Thanks for sharing..........


I work in the medical field as a vet tech, and yes it is true that colour defiencies can be a hurtle. It's not just rashes and discolourations in patients you have to worry about. Much of the equippment is colour-coded, and a lot of classifications are based on colour.

For instance, EKG machines typically have 3 or 4-leads that need to be attached to specfic areas to properly record heart rythyms. The only diffeence between the 3-lead and 4-lead is that the 4-lead includes a white lead, but regardless of that the colours of the leads are always black, red, and green. I remeber the order of placement by the saying "Smoke before fire and snow on grass" and "white on right." Black and white (when present) both go on the front paws with white on right and black on left, and red and green go on the back paws with red on the animal's left paw and green on the right. Clearly a person who is red-green colour-blind is at a huge disadvantage. The only way around it is to have someone else label the colours for you since there's no other cue to take advantage of. However I'm told that some of the manufacturers have started labeling the leads themselves... That's good news!

Another example includes indentifyng different types of bacteria. Gram staining is used a lot of times for that purpose. Gram-positive bacteria stain bluish-green or varying shades of purple, and gram-negative bacteria stain pink or red. The difference in shades depends in part to the quality of the stain used, how long we keep the stain on before rinsing, and how the bacteria themselves pick up the stain. It is important to distungish between these bacteria because they don't always respond favourably to the same antibiotics. Thankfully for the most part colour-blind people can take advantage of the shape of bacteria if they can't distungish the colours: most gram-positive bacteria are round and gram-negative bacteria tend to be rod-shaped. Of course exceptions apply as there are gram-positive rods and gram-negative spheres as well as variations in shape. It's important for to mention that there are other shapes in bacteria to worry about including spiral-shaped bacteria (actually the third main shape along with spheres and rods), but I wanted to keep this example as simple as possible.

A third example has to do with blood test tubes. Different types of these test tubes are coated with different agents depending on what type of test is needed. They are identified by their rubber stoppers as well as being labeled, though I find most techs go by colour alone once they learn them. Anyways the stoppers are pastel in colour and colour-wise a bit misleading as the red tube actually has a pinkish stopper. Colour-blind people will either have to read the label each time or learn and memorise where each type of tube is kept in their lab or clinic.

I agree with you though that where there's a will there's a way. There's no real reason a colour-blind person wouldn't make a good doctor; he or she will find other ways to get around his or her disadvantage. There are ways around even the examples I provided including not going into fields where that will be an issue, so if there's someone out there who's colour-blind and wants to be a doctor, I'd tell him or her to go for it... though I'd also mention that he or she may have to find some ways around the colour-coding. ^_^

Good luck to any aspiring doctors, nurses, vets, techs, and everyone else in the medical field!!

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