Harvard med student breastfeeding mom sues the national licening board - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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Lactivism > Harvard med student breastfeeding mom sues the national licening board
boingo82's Avatar boingo82 01:38 AM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
No this isn't true. When you're on your break you can leave, go to the bathroom, get a sandwich, make a phone call, whatever you want.
??? did you mean to quote the person above me?

blessed's Avatar blessed 02:08 AM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by boingo82 View Post
??? did you mean to quote the person above me?
It looks like I thought I was quoting the person you quoted. Sorry.
kittywitty's Avatar kittywitty 02:10 AM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by boingo82 View Post
I guess I'm weird that way too. Am I the only female whose bladder capacity allows them to easily go 8+ hours without peeing??
Yes. Even when not pg, I can NOT go more than 2-3 hours. I have been that way since I was a child. And I have always had an overabundant supply of milk, but was NEVER able to get more than 2 oz. at any given time when pumping.
runes's Avatar runes 02:33 AM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by moderngal View Post


Yes!! This is what I have the biggest issue with. As someone that took a national boards exam, the hardest part of it was simply the time it took to be drilled by questions all day long. I'm not sure I think it's fair for anyone, no matter what, to get an exception to it. If you can't hack the test, can you hack the profession?
: what? so do you ask all your physicians what they scored on their board exam?

several of my classmates failed the boards the first time they took it. actually, one of the brightest students in my graduating class failed it the first time, and we were all SHOCKED because she had consistently scored at the top of the class throughout our very rigorous ivy league program. she went on to pass it and has had a very successful career. her first time failure probably helped many of us pass, as it really lit a fire under many of us to study extra hard as we thought that if she could fail it, any of us could.

i absolutely do not believe that performance on a standardized test has much relevance on the ability of a person to perform in most careers. yes, it is a 'hoop' to jump through. but i wish that they would also devise some type of hoop that would ensure that all doctors have adequate social skills in order to engage in a helping profession but that will be a cold day in hell. i know almost all of us have met 'that' doctor with piss poor bedside manner, and i don't give a damn if s/he got a perfect score on the usmle.
~pi's Avatar ~pi 03:39 AM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
I can't see that allowing a breastfeeding woman adequate time to effectively pump is any hardship, nor that it effects the outcome of the testing in any way other than leveling the playing field so that she's not unfairly penalized.

If they've decided that 45 minutes is an adequate time for people to have the chance to eat, rehydrate, and relieve themselves, then of course they need to factor in additional time for a person needing to pump breastmilk.
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ericswifey27's Avatar ericswifey27 03:54 AM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by elanorh View Post
I guess I feel like some of the responses here are of the "Well, I walk uphill both ways through snowdrifts over my head and I'm just fine!" sorts of responses - and instead of talking about how rough we have/had it, and how we got through it fine and The Man wasn't asked to accomodate us beyond whatever limit we/he thought mattered -- shouldn't we be working to ensure that other moms don't have to "Walk uphill both ways through snowdrifts" (metaphorically speaking) as breastfeeding mothers??

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
: i absolutely do not believe that performance on a standardized test has much relevance on the ability of a person to perform in most careers. yes, it is a 'hoop' to jump through. but i wish that they would also devise some type of hoop that would ensure that all doctors have adequate social skills in order to engage in a helping profession but that will be a cold day in hell. i know almost all of us have met 'that' doctor with piss poor bedside manner, and i don't give a damn if s/he got a perfect score on the usmle.
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elanorh's Avatar elanorh 04:47 AM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Yes!! This is what I have the biggest issue with. As someone that took a national boards exam, the hardest part of it was simply the time it took to be drilled by questions all day long. I'm not sure I think it's fair for anyone, no matter what, to get an exception to it. If you can't hack the test, can you hack the profession?
First - her lactation status is temporary. She'll only be dealing with it while breastfeeding, and as intensively as this, only for a few more months. It's not like the fact that she breastfeeds is a permanent reflection of her ability to doctor. The woman has stated that she chose to have her children while in school, rather than during her residency, as she felt that would mesh better with her career as a physician. So why should her temporary lactating condition, be allowed to dictate the rest of her career? She's already been accepted into a residency program that she must pass this exam before beginning, IIRC.

In terms of the tests themselves -- DH is in the process of taking his national boards for architecture. While there are elements of his exams which actually are important, to hear him tell it most of the test is archaic, outdated, and fails to reflect the way architects work today.

There are plenty of people who "nail" their exams and fail spectacularly at their actual profession (or grad school, or whatever). It's a test, it's not practical application of knowledge earned. Test anxiety and all sorts of factors come into play. Truly - I rock at exams. It doesn't matter whether they're essay or multiple choice or whatever, I excel at them. The fact that I could probably pass dh's architecture exams doesn't mean I'm an architect. There's far more to it than that, and the same is true I'm sure for lawyers, doctors, engineers etc. (Incidentally, I may have practically aced the GRE, but I disappointed my dept. by opting out of grad school after my master's. So my score wasn't exactly a predictor of my success in grad school, at least within my department).

When else in her medical career is she going to be asked to sit through a 9 hour exam? I simply fail to see the supposed correlation between the test environment, and her future work environment.

Quote:
If they've decided that 45 minutes is an adequate time for people to have the chance to eat, rehydrate, and relieve themselves, then of course they need to factor in additional time for a person needing to pump breastmilk.
I agree with Blessed here - I'm waiting to hear someone rebut this. It's not like pumping is a vacation, after all - I think giving a breastfeeding mother the opportunity to spend the same amount of time eating, using the restroom, etc. as her counterparts, while also giving her enough additional time to enable her to pump her breasts - is the logical and fair thing to do. Why should she get LESS time to eat, defecate, etc. than her counterparts? Because that is what is being suggested here - that as a breastfeeding mother, she shouldn't get to eat, drink, walk, etc. for as much time as her peers. How does this compute? I don't understand how this argument is even being supported on a lactivism board.

Really I'm feeling like the bottom line for some posters in re: this situation, is "Well if you can't pump in five minutes in full view of other individuals while taking this exam, then you must not have the qualifications to be a doctor." And, honestly, I fail to see any correlation between:
1. Being able to let down efficiently for a pump, and
2. Not having a tendency towards mastitis or plugged ducts, and/or
3. Being comfortable pumping in public

-- and becoming a physician. :
~pi's Avatar ~pi 11:37 AM 09-14-2007
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KirstenMary's Avatar KirstenMary 01:22 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Googy View Post
Again, this is not just a TIME issue, this is a LOCATION issue. The NY Times article makes clear that she would be forced to pump in a glass-walled testing room with a monitor present. That is the biggest issue to me--to me it is wildly inappropriate to expect her to do this.
I disagree. She can wear a nursing shirt if she is uncomfortable. Or use a cover. Maybe it's not her ideal situation, but it's workable.
KirstenMary's Avatar KirstenMary 01:26 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by elanorh View Post
First - her lactation status is temporary. She'll only be dealing with it while breastfeeding, and as intensively as this, only for a few more months. It's not like the fact that she breastfeeds is a permanent reflection of her ability to doctor. The woman has stated that she chose to have her children while in school, rather than during her residency, as she felt that would mesh better with her career as a physician. So why should her temporary lactating condition, be allowed to dictate the rest of her career? She's already been accepted into a residency program that she must pass this exam before beginning, IIRC.

In terms of the tests themselves -- DH is in the process of taking his national boards for architecture. While there are elements of his exams which actually are important, to hear him tell it most of the test is archaic, outdated, and fails to reflect the way architects work today.

There are plenty of people who "nail" their exams and fail spectacularly at their actual profession (or grad school, or whatever). It's a test, it's not practical application of knowledge earned. Test anxiety and all sorts of factors come into play. Truly - I rock at exams. It doesn't matter whether they're essay or multiple choice or whatever, I excel at them. The fact that I could probably pass dh's architecture exams doesn't mean I'm an architect. There's far more to it than that, and the same is true I'm sure for lawyers, doctors, engineers etc. (Incidentally, I may have practically aced the GRE, but I disappointed my dept. by opting out of grad school after my master's. So my score wasn't exactly a predictor of my success in grad school, at least within my department).

When else in her medical career is she going to be asked to sit through a 9 hour exam? I simply fail to see the supposed correlation between the test environment, and her future work environment.



I agree with Blessed here - I'm waiting to hear someone rebut this. It's not like pumping is a vacation, after all - I think giving a breastfeeding mother the opportunity to spend the same amount of time eating, using the restroom, etc. as her counterparts, while also giving her enough additional time to enable her to pump her breasts - is the logical and fair thing to do. Why should she get LESS time to eat, defecate, etc. than her counterparts? Because that is what is being suggested here - that as a breastfeeding mother, she shouldn't get to eat, drink, walk, etc. for as much time as her peers. How does this compute? I don't understand how this argument is even being supported on a lactivism board.

Really I'm feeling like the bottom line for some posters in re: this situation, is "Well if you can't pump in five minutes in full view of other individuals while taking this exam, then you must not have the qualifications to be a doctor." And, honestly, I fail to see any correlation between:
1. Being able to let down efficiently for a pump, and
2. Not having a tendency towards mastitis or plugged ducts, and/or
3. Being comfortable pumping in public

-- and becoming a physician. :
I'll rebut it. She can eat, drink, and pump at the same time. I do it all.the.time.
~pi's Avatar ~pi 02:21 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by KirstenMary View Post
She can eat, drink, and pump at the same time. I do it all.the.time.
Good for you!

You know what, I can arrange my entire day so that I never need to NIP.* That doesn't mean that it is reasonable to expect that all women do so.



*This is a hypothetical example, as I NIP all the time. But if I had to, I could arrange so I only nursed in private.
~pi's Avatar ~pi 02:23 PM 09-14-2007
Oooh! And you know what else I do all the time? Build statistical models and calculate eigenvectors! So everyone else should be able to do that, too!

(This is actually a real example. )
KirstenMary's Avatar KirstenMary 03:07 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~pi View Post
Good for you!

You know what, I can arrange my entire day so that I never need to NIP.* That doesn't mean that it is reasonable to expect that all women do so.



*This is a hypothetical example, as I NIP all the time. But if I had to, I could arrange so I only nursed in private.

Totally different. And what you are doing is exactly what the BFers I know are worried about: comparing her unreasonable request with NIPing.
KirstenMary's Avatar KirstenMary 03:13 PM 09-14-2007
+QUOTE=~pi;9174323]Oooh! And you know what else I do all the time? Build statistical models and calculate eigenvectors! So everyone else should be able to do that, too!

(This is actually a real example. )[/QUOTE]

It's wonderful that you are so skilled, but again, this example is totally different.

I live in Massachusetts and her interviews are getting a lot of airtime around here; thus, I am only going by that she has said and nothing more. So, based on what she has said, the suggestions listed here in this thread by her fellow BFers would lessen her discomfort in many ways.
~pi's Avatar ~pi 03:46 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by KirstenMary View Post
Totally different. And what you are doing is exactly what the BFers I know are worried about: comparing her unreasonable request with NIPing.
I don't think her request is unreasonable.

Interestingly, neither does Dr. Stuebe, the only bfing expert who knows the whole story and has weighed in on this issue. Hmmm ...
ccohenou's Avatar ccohenou 03:55 PM 09-14-2007
It's interesting to think about what is reasonable. On an ongoing basis, would it be fair for a breastfeeding employee to ask for a full hour of (paid?) breaks in addition to regularly scheduled breaks/lunches? It seems that they have tried to accommodate her, but she's not willing to take anything less than her full 2 extra hours of breaks. To me, it seems similar to a woman insisting on an extra 45 minutes because she's on her period and needs to change her pad or take an advil every 2 hours. I wouldn't feel the need to get on board with that just because I too am a woman. It's life, not a disability, and we've all got problems (witness the vomiting man, who wasn't breastfeeding at all. it may suck, but it's not discriminatory).
~pi's Avatar ~pi 03:58 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccohenou View Post
It's interesting to think about what is reasonable. On an ongoing basis, would it be fair for a breastfeeding employee to ask for a full hour of (paid?) breaks in addition to regularly scheduled breaks/lunches?
Note that the standard here is a total of 45 minutes of breaks over 9 hours. There is no lunch break.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccohenou View Post
It seems that they have tried to accommodate her, but she's not willing to take anything less than her full 2 extra hours of breaks.
It doesn't sound to me like they tried to accommodate her at all. They accommodated her learning differences because they are legally required to.

But as for the completely separate issue of breastfeeding/pumping, they did nothing more than offer another glass-walled monitored room to pump in for ridiculously short periods of time.
ccohenou's Avatar ccohenou 04:07 PM 09-14-2007
When we discussed this before, it turned out that being able to take a break if you have time left over at the end of a section is actually a significant 'lenience.' Normally, when you finish a section, you use part of your break time or you go on without a break, regardless of when you finish.

LLL's FAQ says 10-20 minutes, ~3 times per day, on a double electric pump - and this is for long-term maintenance of milk supply, not emergency relief for two days only.
ccohenou's Avatar ccohenou 04:10 PM 09-14-2007
Does anyone happen to know what legal theory she is using to challenge the board in court?
~pi's Avatar ~pi 04:22 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccohenou View Post
LLL's FAQ says 10-20 minutes, ~3 times per day, on a double electric pump - and this is for long-term maintenance of milk supply, not emergency relief for two days only.
For most women.

I think we can all admit that nursing and pumping needs vary from woman to woman. I know someone who found it extremely painful to delay her scheduled pumping time by even 15 minutes, and who, if she didn't completely empty her breasts (which took about 30 minutes) was significantly engorged and in pain.
Sandstress's Avatar Sandstress 04:37 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccohenou View Post
When we discussed this before, it turned out that being able to take a break if you have time left over at the end of a section is actually a significant 'lenience.' Normally, when you finish a section, you use part of your break time or you go on without a break, regardless of when you finish.
This is not correct. If you finish one section early, you add that time to your overall break time. A lot of people end up with more than the 45 minutes of break time that everyone starts with. You can take breaks in between every section or none at all. Totally up to the test taker.
ccohenou's Avatar ccohenou 04:40 PM 09-14-2007
But these tests and their setups are meant to address "most people." Some people eat slowly. Some people get very hungry if they don't eat every 2 hours. Some people take a long time to take a poop. It goes back to...we've all got problems. If she has some very specific personal medical need, then that is specific to her. But to say that this is a breastfeeding issue per se, and that all supporters of breastfeeding should be on board with her suing for an extra two hours, is not reasonable IMO.
KirstenMary's Avatar KirstenMary 05:27 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~pi View Post
I don't think her request is unreasonable.

Interestingly, neither does Dr. Stuebe, the only bfing expert who knows the whole story and has weighed in on this issue. Hmmm ...
You're entitled to your opinion, as are we all.
KirstenMary's Avatar KirstenMary 05:29 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~pi View Post
Note that the standard here is a total of 45 minutes of breaks over 9 hours. There is no lunch break.


It doesn't sound to me like they tried to accommodate her at all. They accommodated her learning differences because they are legally required to.

But as for the completely separate issue of breastfeeding/pumping, they did nothing more than offer another glass-walled monitored room to pump in for ridiculously short periods of time.
It's not a ridiculously short period of time. It's not ideal, but it's not so short that it's impossible.

But I thought time wasn't the issue.
KirstenMary's Avatar KirstenMary 05:32 PM 09-14-2007
I wonder how she is planning on addressing this issue on her job. Is she going to demand a one hour break after every three hours of work in order to accommodate her pumping?
GalateaDunkel's Avatar GalateaDunkel 06:01 PM 09-14-2007
I could be wrong but I have a bad feeling about this person and her way of approaching things.

Part of this is personal for me because I have a history of underperforming and being frustrated at an advanced point in my academic career because of mental health problems. When depression severely impacted my ability to work with the very complex data of my chosen field, I didn't seek 'accommodations' - I left the professional arena until I could get myself together.

There are a lot of people in research and academics who could go a lot farther - and achieve more elite credentials - if it weren't for some life or personal circumstance holding them back. What divides all those people from the few who make sure to get themselves a'diagnosis' and 'accommodations'? A sense of entitlement. I will probably get flamed for this but I think dual terminal degrees from Harvard should signify that a person DOESN'T have major learning problems. It doesn't mean you're less intelligent - it just means you're gracious enough to accept you can't perform to that level.

What this has to do with the BFing - it's the BFing lawsuit that makes me suspicious of the ADD thing. I'm not saying ADD provisions are always unreasonable - but it is a very subjective diagnosis. It's not like being blind and needing Braille. It's not even like being ADD in grade school and needing help with your homework. The BFing thing makes me think - here is a person who's used to receiving special exceptions and having the rules bent on her behalf, it's obviously worked for her up until now so she doesn't realize she's going too far and making herself ridiculous in the process.

Also, lab work is no cakewalk. Although it may not have life or death consequences, the hours are often long and the work is frequently time-sensitive.
ccohenou's Avatar ccohenou 06:36 PM 09-14-2007
Galatea, I was talking to my husband about this yesterday - he has ADHD, medicated, and is a law student - and he very much agreed with you, more strongly than I would have thought. He feels it's important to demonstrate that he can do the job in spite of his difficulties (which he feels come with corresponding abilities), and that after all, he won't get double-time to submit motions or responses when he is practicing, so why expect coddling now? I thought it was an interesting perspective, though I certainly do believe in reasonable accommodations for disabilities a la the ADA.
khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat 07:13 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandstress View Post
This is not correct. If you finish one section early, you add that time to your overall break time. A lot of people end up with more than the 45 minutes of break time that everyone starts with. You can take breaks in between every section or none at all. Totally up to the test taker.
My friend just took the test that is between either the 1st and 2nd year or the 2nd and 3rd year.

When you finish a section, you finish that section. You either move on to the next, or you take part of your 45 minute break time and then move onto the next test. You have approximately 60 minutes per test session.

They have given her 2 hours per test session to accomodate her disabilities. Then on top of that they are saying that if she has time after the test is done, but the 2 hrs is up, she can use that.

That is much better than the bar exam I took. We were allotted 1 60 minute lunch only. If you need a drink of water or to go pee, you had to get up from your table and loose time from your test time to do it otherwise.
AoifesMom's Avatar AoifesMom 08:52 PM 09-14-2007
KirtenMary and Galeta, I couldn't agree more. The accomodations she is looking for are unrealistic and unfair. These tests are endurance runs and giving her extra time is simply unacceptable. We each have personal matters which impact our abilities in one way or another, the way in which we handle them says a lot about our drive and committment. I think she has found a way to gain an unfair advantage and is trying to use it for all its worth.
moderngal's Avatar moderngal 10:08 PM 09-14-2007
Quote:
When else in her medical career is she going to be asked to sit through a 9 hour exam? I simply fail to see the supposed correlation between the test environment, and her future work environment.
It's not about a "test" per se or her score. My comment about her not being able to take the challenges of being a physician correlating to not being able to handle the boards is more related to the stress, the endurance, rapid recall of information, etc that are important parts of the test. I don't care if she passes by 1 point-- the fact that she passed given the rigors of the testing environment is important. When you start handing out exceptions for a temporary condition (lactation) that is *not* a disability, you affect the integrity of the exam and I don't believe that's fair to the other students that are taking the test.
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