All David E. Rawdin had to do was to pass a multiple-choice examination - albeit one required by the American Board of Pediatrics to remain certified as a pediatrician.
The Montgomery County physician failed five times.
It cost him his job as a pediatrician in the neonatology department at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
In a lawsuit filed Dec. 5, Rawdin alleges that he was the victim of discrimination by the American Board of Pediatrics because it failed to adequately accommodate a cognitive disability he suffers as a result of a brain tumor that was surgically removed and treated with radiation and chemotherapy.
It was diagnosed in 1987 and recurred in 1996, requiring operations and treatments both times, the suit filed in U.S. District Court states.
"This has left me over the years with a disability that is unique in the fact that it affects only my ability to retrieve information when presented with an objective multiple-choice exam," Rawdin wrote in a 2011 letter to the board requesting changes to the testing process that he said would be fair to him.
"I am now out of a job and since my career is being determined by a multiple-choice exam of approximately 330 questions and not by my clinical abilities and history, I am forced to once again try and pass an exam that is counter to my documented disability," he wrote in the letter, which was included with the lawsuit.
The board agreed to some of his requested changes, granting him more testing time, a shortened daily test duration, and an individual test room.
The board did not grant him his request for an "essay-like test format," advance knowledge of the material to be covered, and access to reference material during the test.
He made the request before his fifth examination. He said in his letter that he had not requested the accommodations before because "I was certain nothing that my doctor and I discussed would help."
Rawdin had cared for approximately 10,000 newborns at Children's Hospital and "was free from negative incidents or malpractice claims," the suit says. But he could not pass the board exam, so he lost his job at Children's in 2010.
He took the exam one more time. He failed again.
Rawdin alleges that the board violated the American With Disabilities Act for "refusal to allow [him] to be evaluated by some means other than a multiple-choice test."
He is seeking to have the board certify him, and to get compensation for lost salary and benefits, compensatory damages, costs, and legal fees.
Samantha Lynn Kane, an attorney for the board, said a legal response to the suit was being prepared. She declined to comment further.