MSU Medical Students Could Soon Be On The COVID-19 Front

Apr 6, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is stretching the resources of hospitals across the country.  Many places are in critical need of doctors and nurses to care for an ever mounting number of patients.  Some medical schools are sending their students into practice even before they graduate. 

 


Haseeb Khan will graduate from Michigan State University next month as an M.D. specializing in emergency medicine.  He’s set to work in Detroit starting in July.  He told WKAR’s Kevin Lavery that MSU might be able to get him to the front lines even faster.

 

 

Haseeb Khan:

My school is working towards getting our degrees certified and telling us that if the residences are saying that (if) they'll be able to take me early, to let them know. But as of yet, I'm still headed to DMC Sinai Grace, but there are no talks yet to start earlier than the July 1 start date.

 

Kevin Lavery:

When are you scheduled to graduate?

 

Khan:

May 9 is the graduation date, but we're not going to have the graduation ceremony. It's going to be something virtual that they're going to do. 

 

Lavery:

Right. So you're at this point taking online courses to finish this out (your studies)?

 

Khan:

Yes.  We’re seeing patients through Zoom and FaceTime. And then we also have a two-week dedicated COVID-19 course that the university is asking if we want to enroll in, just to have more information on treating patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

 

Lavery:

How do you feel about all this right now…personally and as a budding professional?

 

Khan:

It’s definitely a little concerning.  But I'm pretty confident in my ability to at least triage patients, at least to see patients who I could confirm and say that, you know, you're probably not having COVID-19 symptoms if you're coming in here for stomach pain and nausea and vomiting.  Definitely, it is a little bit of concern. But this is what we signed up for.

 

Lavery:

But you have to admit, Haseeb, that this could really put your triage skills to the test because many people who are asymptomatic can be carriers of the virus.  People may have no clue whatsoever and you can't necessarily detect it right away.

 

Khan:

Yeah, absolutely. And the only reason I would be really concerned in that case would be the lack of personal protection for myself; the masks and gowns.  I would be concerned if I was going to a place where they don't have the personal protection that can ensure that I won't get it from someone who's showing obvious symptoms or for someone who's asymptomatic. I might be treating for something else, but they might be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19.

 

Lavery:

I wonder how your family feels about this?  You’re entering this profession at a momentous time in history, and all eyes are on people like you in the health care industry.  That has to give your family and friends a moment of pause to think about what's really happening here.

 

Khan:

Yeah, absolutely. Especially my wife.  We just had a baby on December 16. So, she’s definitely a little concerned about me going into the emergency department earlier than expected if that's the case.  It’s definitely scary to be going in during a time like this. But honestly, as long as we take the proper precautions, as long as the proper equipment is there for us to protect ourselves when we're seeing patients, there's nothing else that I would want to be doing right now. I’ve been cooped up in my apartment for the last two and a half months, and I've been really wanting to just go out there and start helping people.  I’ve had family members and friends reach out to me about information about COVID-19, and I’ve been doing as much as I can over the phone.  But it would definitely mean a lot to me to be out there on the front lines being able to help people.

 

Lavery:

What has this experience that we’re all going through collectively taught you that you could have never learned In a classroom?

 

Khan:

I think just seeing how people react to uncertainty and fear, you know.  Like seeing people stock up on toilet paper.  I’ve been seeing videos of people fighting in grocery stores and supplies running low. Honestly, at the end of the day, it opens my eyes to the reality that you just need to go out there and educate people.  If we all do the basic stuff of washing our hands, staying at home…if you're going to cough, cover your mouth, if you sneeze, cover your nose. If we do the basic stuff like that, we can make a real big difference in making sure that less people get infected. We could definitely get things under control. Eventually.