The Student Health Center put my well-being at risk

Anna Mayo and Corinna Pazzanese

Corinna: As students are returning to in-person learning on campus, excitement is in the air, but so are viruses. Students are finding that the health care services at Quinnipiac University are not living up to expectations when it comes to health care needs and crucial communication.

Whether it’s treating the common cold or a nagging rash, Quinnipiac Student Health Services have proved incapable of providing efficient and effective care to its students. As students at Quinnipiac, we are lucky enough to have a dedicated health care team right on campus. However, there is a glaring issue with the appointment-making process. Students are realizing it is nearly impossible to schedule an appointment.

Illustration by Connor Lawless

Furthermore, if students can get an appointment, the care seems to be insufficient. It could be understaffing problems or internal organization issues, but ultimately, none of these are a valid excuse for neglecting the vital medical needs of students. Health issues are unpredictable, so dependability from health services is a necessity.

Anna: The second day I moved into college, I had a massive allergic reaction, ultimately resulting in an impetigo super-infection that sent me to the emergency room at Yale New Haven Hospital. The first day I attempted to reach the Student Health Services, it took all of seven calls just to reach someone to schedule an appointment.

I had a burning hive rash that was rapidly spreading all over my body, and the one place that I thought could help me wasn’t picking up the phone. I was away from home for the first time in my life, and never felt so alone and helpless.

Corinna: Communication is a crucial aspect of any organization, and as recent experiences show, the student health services needs to improve. When someone is in need of medical attention, not being able to contact a person on the phone can increase stress levels and cause further health issues.

Delaying appointments can lead to worsening symptoms, and, as we’ve seen, a visit to the campus health center can change to a visit to the ER very quickly. Ultimately, health care should be convenient and easily accessible.

Anna: Even when I finally got an appointment at the health center, the confusion didn’t stop there. As a COVID-19 precaution, the receptionist informed me that patients are instructed to wait outside the back of the health services building and to call upon arrival. This would be fine, except they didn’t pick up the phone, and after five calls, I resorted to banging on the windows.

To keep all non-COVID-19 related issues in one place, at my next appointment, I was told to go to the York Hill health center — without any directions of where to find it — and as a freshman, I got very lost. For my fourth appointment, I asked if I should go back to York Hill, and the nurse had no idea what I was talking about.

Delaying appointments can lead to worsening symptoms, and, as we’ve seen, a visit to the campus health center can change to a visit to the ER very quickly. Ultimately, health care should be convenient and easily accessible.

— Corinna Pazzanese, contributing writer

Corinna: Numerous students around campus report difficulties making appointments with Student Health Services. Coughs are heard echoing throughout classrooms and bouncing off of dorm walls. At the beginning of flu season and with COVID-19 still making its course, dependability is crucial to protecting the students of Quinnipiac now more than ever. When appointments are challenging to make, it discourages students from trying to make an appointment altogether. This may lead to a wider spread of viruses and a more threatening scale of symptoms if the illnesses get out of hand.

Anna: My final straw with the health center was my fifth appointment, where I was told the most logical explanation for my condition was that I had scabies (to put it simply: bugs), and both my roommate and I would have to undergo treatment.

I really didn’t think my roommate, who Lysols the tile floor, would appreciate being told she had to quarantine because I gave her bugs.

After this alarming diagnosis, I made the decision to take myself to the emergency room. There, the doctor diagnosed me within 15 minutes, prescribed effective medication and sent me on my way. The true diagnosis was that I had an extreme allergic reaction (not scabies) for almost two weeks that would have been greatly reduced had the Student Health Center been easy to communicate with in the first place.

Not only was the constant fighting to get an appointment and the trip to the ER inconvenient, especially for my first week of college, but a minor reaction blew up into a major health crisis due to (among other factors) the amount of time I waited for treatment. If I had agreed to the treatment for scabies, the reaction most likely would have gotten even worse, which is something I don’t even want to imagine.

I no longer trust the Student Health Center with my well-being. After reading this, can you honestly say that you do?