The Firing Squad: Students deserve quicker care (Forum)

Christopher Danzig

On Sunday, my friend woke up feeling quite ill. She wasn’t life-threateningly sick, but she felt poorly enough that she needed to see a doctor. But other than an emergency phone number, NU has essentially no health services available on weekends or after hours. So she called the 24-hour advice line for her health care provider and was informed that she had two choices. She could go to an urgent care clinic on West Peterson Avenue – in Chicago, several blocks south of Howard Street. The other option was to go to the emergency room at Evanston Northwestern Hospital.

Most NU students don’t have cars, so neither option was particularly pleasant. Walking to ENH in the cold is possible but miserable (not to mention dangerous for someone feeling quite ill). My friend called me, and luckily I knew someone who drove us to the hospital where my friend waited for three hours to get seen by a doctor.

It makes no sense that NU – which boasts the 44th best primary care medical school in the country, according to US News and World Report – has such limited services for students. Existing services are also slow. The NU Health Services Web site says “appointments with physicians or nurse practitioners are generally available within two business days.” There should be options other than a time-consuming trip to the ER for weekend or late-night maladies. And during the week, students shouldn’t have to wait two days to get help.

There must be some way to tap into NU’s medical school superiority and expedite and expand the university’s student health care system.

– Christopher Danzig

Forum Editor