Medical students help evacuees, learn valuable skills at shelter

With Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center serving as a shelter for those displaced by Harvey, medical assistance was a top priority. Medical students and trainees where on hand to provide help, with supervision from faculty preceptors, including Dr. Monisha Arya, assistant professor of medicine.

Students and trainees under Arya’s leadership were assigned “patients” to follow in the makeshift wards that were created in a corner of the cavernous Hall C in the convention center. They included Holland Kaplan, Jenn Kaplan, Jenna Bates, Hanna Abrams, Ziba Colah and Salvador Maffei, They also helped many other people throughout Hall C when a medical question was asked. Among other things, students learned how to assess patients with high blood pressure and identify the potential toxicities of over-the-counter medications, and they gained valuable experience in taking a patient history and conducting a patient exam, as well as documenting the results.

Arya expressed appreciation for the students’ efforts.

“Thank you for all the histories and physical exams, helping in our triage and intake areas, helping with the paper tracking, patient transports, organization of our medical supplies and the entire disaster medical process, pharmacy runs, talking to patients about their health concerns, asking great questions — medical and logistical — to the medical faculty precepting you, alerting medical faculty to persons even beyond our medical zone who needed immediate medical attention, and for your friendly faces to so many distressed and sick people sheltered at the Convention Center!  I hope you learned that even ‘just’ medical students can provide valuable patient care and much needed help to other medical professionals and non-health volunteers in a real time of need.”

Dr. Monisha Arya and medical students at the shelter set up at the George R. Brown Convention Center for Harvey evacuees.

Dr. Monisha Arya and medical students at the shelter set up at the George R. Brown Convention Center for Harvey evacuees.