BOSTON – A new mother cannot have extra break time during her nine-hour medical licensing exam so she can pump breast milk to feed her 4-month-old daughter, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Sophie Currier, 33, sued after the National Board of Medical Examiners turned down her request to take more than the standard 45 minutes in breaks during the exam. She said that if she does not nurse her daughter, Lea, or pump breast milk every two to three hours, she risks medical complications.
Norfolk Superior Court Judge Patrick Brady said Currier has other options, beyond asking the board to change its rules for her.
"The plaintiff may take the test and pass, notwithstanding what she considers to be unfavorable conditions. The plaintiff may delay the test, which is offered numerous times during the year, until she has finished her breast-feeding and the need to express milk," he said.
Currier has finished a joint M.D.-Ph.D. program at Harvard University while having two babies in the past two years. She has been offered a residency in clinical pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital in November, but cannot accept it unless she passes the test. Her goal is a career in medical research.