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  • Disqualifying medical factors?

    Hi all, long story short I want to be a cop. I have a ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP shunt) because of a past history of hydrocephalus. I am wondering if this vp shunt is disqualifying for all police departments? Is there an all encompassing health requirements resource that agencies use? Thanks for the info in advance.

  • #2
    Originally posted by montrbr View Post
    Hi all, long story short I want to be a cop. I have a ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP shunt) because of a past history of hydrocephalus. I am wondering if this vp shunt is disqualifying for all police departments? Is there an all encompassing health requirements resource that agencies use? Thanks for the info in advance.
    You'll need to ask them- the medical standards are set by each department.

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    • #3
      States and departments set their own standards. They don't appear to create any physical restrictions. Is that correct?

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      • #4
        I had to look up what hydrocephalus was.

        If you don't have any brain damage from it, I don't see why it would be a problem...

        Comment


        • #5
          I doubt most departments have ever hard of that condition. It's probably a very case by case determination. Best thing you can do is apply broadly and cross that road when you get there. When it comes up on the medical, have a doctor's note ready to explain the extent of the condition and how it does/doesn't affect your ability to perform the job duties.

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          • #6
            Does it make you more susceptible to head trauma? Injury/incapacitation during a physical struggle would likely be the main concern.

            But as others have said, each state and/or agency sets their own standards. Ultimately it will be up to the hiring agency's physician to clear you. Unfortunately, the medical exam takes place at the very end of the hiring process after a conditional job offer has been made.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by just joe View Post
              States and departments set their own standards. They don't appear to create any physical restrictions. Is that correct?
              That is correct. No physical restrictions, at least for me personally.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Winter_Patriot View Post
                I doubt most departments have ever hard of that condition. It's probably a very case by case determination. Best thing you can do is apply broadly and cross that road when you get there. When it comes up on the medical, have a doctor's note ready to explain the extent of the condition and how it does/doesn't affect your ability to perform the job duties.
                Thanks I appreciate the response

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post
                  Does it make you more susceptible to head trauma? Injury/incapacitation during a physical struggle would likely be the main concern.

                  But as others have said, each state and/or agency sets their own standards. Ultimately it will be up to the hiring agency's physician to clear you. Unfortunately, the medical exam takes place at the very end of the hiring process after a conditional job offer has been made.
                  I see. Thank you for the info!

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                  • #10
                    I'm going to disagree with the others.

                    I did a bit of online digging as to long term physical restrictions for people with shunts. Among other things, here is what I found -

                    People with shunts should avoid any activity which involves twisting at the waist, as this can dislodge the shunt.

                    Martial arts
                    Any activity that involves being grabbed around the neck is not advised, as the shunt tubing in the neck can crack.

                    Some neurosurgeons would prefer their patients not to play rugby, others say it is fine provided a scrum cap is worn, so ask your neurosurgeon what s/he thinks. For younger children, tag rugby (non-contact) is becoming popular, and would be fine.

                    Gymnastics and dance
                    An excellent activity to improve balance, coordination and fitness, this should be fine for people with VP shunts. Shunts won’t drain when the head is lower than the distal (bottom) end of the shunt, so being upside down for any length of time will usually be very uncomfortable, and best avoided.

                    People with shunts might need to avoid twisting at the waist.


                    Scuba diving with a ‘buddy’ should be fine, at moderate depths. Don’t dive alone or too deep. Some studies suggest that repeated scuba diving can affect and lead to damage to the brain.

                    Golf
                    Best avoided by people with LP shunts, because of the twisting at the waist.

                    Although not a sport, rollercoasters which accelerate rapidly, or which contain fast turns may not be advisable, as the G forces may very occasionally cause some bleeding inside the head, which could block the shunt.

                    While none of these describe police work, the do describe physical activities that are common to a law enforcement position. Yours is a known, preexisting condition which if exacerbated by an on the job activity, may be compensable under the workers compensation laws of most states, This could cause the police department to be financially liable to pay for treating your condition for the rest of your life and even paying for a disability retirement. This poses an unreasonable risk for the employer and based on that alone, you may be medically disqualified.



                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                      I'm going to disagree with the others.

                      I did a bit of online digging as to long term physical restrictions for people with shunts. Among other things, here is what I found -

                      People with shunts should avoid any activity which involves twisting at the waist, as this can dislodge the shunt.

                      Martial arts
                      Any activity that involves being grabbed around the neck is not advised, as the shunt tubing in the neck can crack.

                      Some neurosurgeons would prefer their patients not to play rugby, others say it is fine provided a scrum cap is worn, so ask your neurosurgeon what s/he thinks. For younger children, tag rugby (non-contact) is becoming popular, and would be fine.

                      Gymnastics and dance
                      An excellent activity to improve balance, coordination and fitness, this should be fine for people with VP shunts. Shunts won’t drain when the head is lower than the distal (bottom) end of the shunt, so being upside down for any length of time will usually be very uncomfortable, and best avoided.

                      People with shunts might need to avoid twisting at the waist.


                      Scuba diving with a ‘buddy’ should be fine, at moderate depths. Don’t dive alone or too deep. Some studies suggest that repeated scuba diving can affect and lead to damage to the brain.

                      Golf
                      Best avoided by people with LP shunts, because of the twisting at the waist.

                      Although not a sport, rollercoasters which accelerate rapidly, or which contain fast turns may not be advisable, as the G forces may very occasionally cause some bleeding inside the head, which could block the shunt.

                      While none of these describe police work, the do describe physical activities that are common to a law enforcement position. Yours is a known, preexisting condition which if exacerbated by an on the job activity, may be compensable under the workers compensation laws of most states, This could cause the police department to be financially liable to pay for treating your condition for the rest of your life and even paying for a disability retirement. This poses an unreasonable risk for the employer and based on that alone, you may be medically disqualified.


                      hmm interesting. My doctors never mentioned any physical restrictions. I wonder if that’s kind of a case by case basis as I can still workout and everything just fine. Thanks for playing devils advocate though, good to keep in mind.



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OP, I did a bit more digging and found an appeal decision from the New Jersey Civil Service Commission involving a police officer applicant with a VP shunt.

                        https://www.state.nj.us/csc/about/me...B-01%20web.PDF

                        TL;DR: The Medical Examiners Panel determined that based on the submitted evaluations and the medical consultant's review, the applicant is "physically capable of undergoing the training involved to be a Police Officer and he is capable of performing the essential functions of the position".

                        It states that the Panel's report and relevant medical records are attached...but unfortunately (yet understandably) they are not publicly available as far as I can tell. That would give you more insight into how the determination was made.

                        YMMV, and this is by no means a binding decision (except in this specific case), but it should give you some hope that it's not impossible to get hired with your condition. It's definitely going to be an uphill battle though.

                        Good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Apply, disclose it when you get to the medical, see what happens
                          "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                          "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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