Ochsner Heroes: UQ Ochsner Medical Students Offer COVID-19 Aid

30 March 2020

A group of University of Queensland Ochsner medical students have joined the Ochsner Heroes, a group of people going above and beyond their call of duty to put patients first, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic on the frontline.

As areas of need are identified through Ochsner Health and teams are redeployed to fill gaps, medical student volunteers have stepped up to the challenge and offered their time and medical knowledge in support.

Ochsner Chief Academic Officer and Associate Professor Leonardo Seoane said in a single week, 148 students have been deployed and volunteered more than 730 hours to care for patients.

"We have a growing number of medical students putting their hands up to be deployed across Louisiana," Professor Leonardo Seoane said.

"They have embodies the Ochsner ethos of putting patients first, and I have never been prouder of our medical students."

The students are staffing the COVID-19 call centre, testing patients for SARS-CoV2, liaising with patients and their families via telehealth, and 3D printing protective personal equipment for frontline healthcare workers.

Ochsner students lend a hand

Patients are being screened for depression, access to food, transportation and safe accommodation. They are also being prescribed enough medication for the next two months, having pertinent health issues checked and being advised on the importance of social distancing.

On the COVID-19 hotline, patient wait times have been reduced from over two hours to just minutes with the help of 130 dedicated student volunteers who work 12-hour days to provide much-needed assistance for the nurse triage colleagues.

"It's amazing what you can do when people coordinate their efforts to put the community first," Associate Professor Seoane said.

Medical student and President of the Ochsner Medical Student Association Donald Chang said he's been working around the clock to develop the first in-house hospital lab test for COVID-19 in the state of Louisiana.

"While our conventional education has been put on hold, we've been fortunate to have this opportunity to help and learn during this crisis," Mr Chang said.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time of adjustment for our medical students, but I'm incredibly proud of their resilience and selflessness."

"The determination and resilience displayed by my peers is a direct reflection of the amazing education and passion for patients present at UQ Ochsner Clinical School," he said.

Four of the students will be sharing their experiences during a COVID-19 webinar; April 8, 2020 6pm (CST).

Secure your seat: https://bit.ly/39EIIAo