Medical students graduating early to battle coronavirus

Fourth-year medical student student Hailey McInerney is graduating from the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University six weeks early to join the fight against COVID-19.

She's scheduled to begin her residency at Mount Sinai West on July 1 but until then she'll be working on the front lines as an assisting physician at Stony Brook University Hospital.

“When I think about it this is really what I went into medicine to be able to do,” she said.

As of Wednesday, 344 patients are being treated for COVID-19 at Stony Brook, 91 of them are in the ICU and 80 are on mechanical ventilators. The anticipated surge is just weeks away.

“The staffing is going to become very critical very soon because we have so many patients in our hospital,” said Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, Dean of Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University.

On Monday, the medical school sent out an email giving its graduating class the option to start early in the hospital. Seventy-six early graduates have already signed up.  

While Nate Winans was disappointed at first he wasn't going to be able to take part in the traditional end of year festivities like commencement, to him volunteering is more important.

“What better reason to miss out on those important things than a truly global health crisis,” he said.

The faculty at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine is currently reviewing its fourth year student roster to see who's eligible to graduate within the coming weeks instead of waiting until June. Some students have already reached out to their residency programs to see if they could use an extra hand.  

“I’m under the assumption our school has hospitals lined up that would like additional help from us,” said fourth-year medical student Max Cohen.

Putting their training and tools to use by helping others.


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