I know many disabled physicians who have transitioned into different areas of non-clinical medicine. They have found some great non-clinical physician jobs. For instance, if you're an surgeon and you develop rheumatoid arthritis, you could transition into family medicine or internal medicine. However, maybe you'll be better in a corporate (non-clinical) environment.
You may get disabled to perform your primary duties as a physician, but as long as your mind is sharp and you're able to communicate, you can probably be very effective in some non-clinical areas of healthcare. Here are a few examples of disabled physicians I've met over the years:
- Surgeon who developed severe arthritis. Now works at Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a medical director.
- Surgery resident who developed severe back problems. Now runs his own medical company called Sermo.
- An OB/GYN who was in a serious motor vehicle accident. She now works from home and does some medical writing and public speaking.
Depending on your type of disability insurance plan, you may still be qualified to receive disability compensation if you don't treat patients as a physician but work in a non-clinical setting. This way, you can work part-time and still receive disability income.