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Thursday, Feb. 27th 2020


Can you imagine the shock and disbelief at learning of your dismissal from medical school in the 3rd or 4th year, after incurring student loan debt of $250,000 to $400,000?

Cohen & Duncan Attorneys, LLC accepts engagements from medical students throughout the United States and in the Caribbean who are facing dismissal from medical school for a variety of reasons: academic performance failures in classroom courses; poor evaluations in clinical courses (generally hospital-based rotations) and professionalism issues.

A medical school dismissal can be based on failure to pass required classroom (didactic) courses. Often grades of less than a C are considered failing grades and typically two or more grades of D or F will trigger a dismissal action by the Student Progress Committee.

Within those dismissal actions are questions of the accuracy of grading; whether a student with disabilities was granted approved accommodations by professors; whether published remediation opportunities were granted.

In the clinical portion of a medical student’s training, the passing of each clinical rotation (such as Adult Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery) is essential for graduation. Clinical performance is more subjective than classroom exam grading. The rating of students’ clinic performance is typically on a set of ten skills or competencies and typically rates the student as highly successful; successful or inadequate. The labels may be different at various medical schools but the approach to evaluation follows this 3-part methodology.

Much of our work for medical students facing dismissal is to take a close look at the clinic rotation evaluations and to look for inconsistencies; the effect of bias; the question of how one evaluation can trigger a dismissal when all other evaluations are good to excellent.

The third basis for medical school dismissal is a violation of Professionalism rules. This area also requires close examination to determine if the opinion of a professor or clinician about a student’s alleged unprofessional conduct is truly fact-based on an objective standard. Our firm has substantial experience in this area, including the evaluation of alleged HIPAA violations and academic integrity violations.

Medical school dismissals at public universities must comply with 14th Amendment Due Process. Those dismissals at private colleges and universities are assessed based on whether the dismissal accurately and fairly follows the school’s own published policies, usually found in the Student Handbook and sometimes in a Clinical Course Handbook.

Cohen & Duncan Attorneys, LLC has had many successes in obtaining a second chance for dismissed medical students. For a no-cost initial phone consultation to determine if your experience could lead to a successful appeal, contact Clifford Cohen (cac@studentrightslawyers.com) or Andrew Duncan (ad@studentrightslawyers.com)

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