Things to know about UT medical student who's suing UT Health in Houston

HOUSTON – Dr. Kyriakos Dalamagkas, who is tetraplegic and has attended universities around the world, is taking legal action against The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, claiming it needs more resources and accommodations for students with disabilities.

The lawsuit, which has been filed in federal court, claims UT Health violated federal anti-discrimination laws and Dalamagkas’ due process rights.

Who is Dalamagkas?

Dalamagkas completed medical school in 2012 in Greece and obtained his foreign medical certification in the U.S. in December 2012. He received a masters in science in nanotechnology and regenerative technology, focusing on novel reparative research projects for spinal cord injury treatment from the University College of London in 2014. Dalamagkas was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School from 2014-2016, focusing on neural tissue engineering-based and neuroimaging-based strategies for central nervous system repair. His first year of residency was at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago from June 2016 to June 2017. He began his second year of residency at UT Health in 2017.

Why is he suing?

Dalamagkas said throughout his years of academic and clinical training, the learning institutions he has attended were able to accommodate his needs. He claims UT Health hasn’t been doing enough. Dalamagkas said while having the opportunity to thrive in environments that allowed him to perform with certain adaptations has been critical, he claims the accommodations he requested at UT Health over the past two years were either not granted or granted late.

According to the lawsuit:

  • "(UT Health) admitted him to the program knowing of his disability and his limitations and then failed to make accommodations that would allow him to succeed."
  • "Any performance issues posed have been caused by the lack of accommodations for his known disability."
  • "For the first 18 months of his residency, he was expected to round and examine patients at the same rate as able-bodied residents."
  • "No room for dictation was provided that would accommodate a wheelchair."
  • "Only after the lawsuit was filed did UT Health provide a medical assistant to help with patient examinations and taking notes."

What is UT Health saying?

In its legal response to the lawsuit, UT Health said it has worked diligently to accommodate Dalamagkas. Court papers filed by UT Health state:

"UT Health has gone to incredible lengths to find reasonable accommodations to allow him to succeed in the program."

Accommodations initially asked for and received included “a laptop with extended battery life, remote access to electronic medical records through the laptop, assistance performing physical exams in the morning hours, a reduced schedule and Medical Dragon Dictate Software."

What’s next?

The case is pending in federal court before Judge Keith Ellison. There is an evidentiary hearing Oct. 4.

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