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Hepatitis b and med school?

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Can someone with hepatitis b attend medical school in Canada? As far as I know, all medical schools require records of hep b immunity, and unfortunately I have chronic hepatitis b contracted from birth. I'm currently in undergrad in a premed program that I love, and feel really sad about the prospect of being discriminated/barred from becoming a doctor. Even if it's not outright rejection of my application, the thought of being discriminated along the path of becoming a doctor, opportunities, etc. from something I can't control is super demoralizing. Surgery-related activities may not be possible, but I feel there's an overall stigma against those with hep b. 

Wondering if anyone knows more about this, or can share their experience with hep b/having a blood-borne disease as a med student. 

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I've heard of a medical student who went to UBC with hepatitis. I think you may be restricted in what type of procedures you can do and what kind of medicine you are allowed to practice. I think you'll also have to have your viral load monitored. If it is high, then you may put your patients at risk. 

This will be a good question to ask the admissions. 

I don't think they have any restrictions in the US though. 


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If I'm remembering correctly, you have to report your status to the College of the province in which you are attending medical school/residency/practicing and based on the results of any investigations that are ordered, including viral load, they may restrict the types of procedures you can perform (so-called "exposure-prone procedures"). If your viral load is below a certain threshold or otherwise "undetectable", I believe you are then allowed to perform these types of procedures, of course with the caveat that you report any incidence of potential exposure, etc...

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This is the CPSO policy on Hepatitis or HIV. https://www.cpso.on.ca/Policies-Publications/Policy/Blood-Borne-Viruses

This section would be most relevant.


Seropositive Physicians: Evaluation of Practice and Practice Restrictions
When a physician is seropositive, and wishes to continue performing and assisting in performing exposure prone procedures, the College will evaluate the physician’s practice and health information to determine what restrictions, if any, are required to safeguard patient health.

The College will take steps13 to gather relevant information about the physician’s health and practice. The College will evaluate each situation based on the specific facts, including the physician’s practice and viral loads.

Based on the information the College receives, there are two potential outcomes for a physician. If a physician poses no increased risk of causing harm to a patient based on his or her serologic status, the physician will be monitored to ensure that the physician continues to pose no increased risk of harm. If a physician poses a higher risk of harm to a patient then practice restrictions may be imposed. Where the College requires assistance in coming to a decision, the College will convene an Expert Panel.  A physician will have an opportunity to make representations and to provide his or her own expert’s opinion if he or she wishes to do so.

Restricting physicians from doing exposure prone procedures is resorted to when other options are not sufficient to safeguard patient health. If the College does impose restrictions on a physician’s practice, it will ensure that the institution(s) at which the physician works are aware of the restrictions.  The College generally does not make institutions aware of the details when a physician poses no increased risk, and is subject only to health monitoring to ensure the risk level stays the same. Whether broader notification of the practice restrictions is required will depend on the circumstances of each case. When evaluating whether broader notification is required, the College will strive to protect physician privacy to the greatest extent possible, while not compromising patient safety.

Any advice provided by the College to the physician or where necessary, restrictions imposed on a physician’s practice, will be informed by evidence and the recommendations of the Expert Panel if one is struck. 


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