On Monday morning, a medical assistant finds me with a nasal swab in hand. I scribble my signature and temperature on the form he hands me. “Ready, Maria?” he asks, and then laughs when I groan in response. I tilt my head, close my eyes and wait for the worst part to be over. After 15 minutes of waiting in the student workroom, he tells me I am COVID-19 negative and set for the week.
This year, like those before us, we entered our study periods for Step 1 with some trepidation — both about the long hours of studying and the high stakes of the exam. Like those before us, we reassured ourselves that if we put our time in now, we’d be able to move beyond memorizing minutiae to caring for patients in the hospital. And then, unlike those before us, testing centers across the world closed.
Hahnemann’s doors stay closed and our patients are waiting. While Philadelphia has stopped negotiations, we, as students with futures in health care, cannot accept this. We demand that Freedman provide free use of Hahnemann for the duration of the pandemic.
This is a question that I have been asked dozens of times over the last several weeks. Ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency, news media has integrated COVID-19 into the news cycle constantly.