Medical students work for free to administer COVID-19 tests in Memphis

UTHSC students help staff Tiger Lane COVID-19 testing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On March 17th medical students across the country were suddenly pulled out of hospitals due to the pandemic.

The Association of American Medical Colleges sending out a recommendation that medical students should temporarily be removed from their clinical rotations.

“I was a little upset honestly. You go to medical school because you want to be a doctor. You want to help people and we were going to be pushed to the sidelines,” said third-year medical student Lydia Makepeace.

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The staff at the University of Tennesse medical school found a way to put Makepeace and several other students, including fellow third-year student Chloe Hundman, to good use by administering COVID-19 tests at Tiger Lane.

“I thought it was such a great opportunity. I mean how many medical students get to train during a pandemic,” said Hundman.

"To give you an idea how special the opportunity was for the students, there is no other medical school in the United States that has even allowed medical students to participate and lead a testing center like this, Said Dr. David Schwartz who is leading the team of medical students.

Schwartz says the operation is working so well that they’re expanding.

Monday UTHSC set up a drive-thru testing site at the North Frayser Community Center. Four more sites across the city and county will soon open over the next 6 to 8 weeks.

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“Hoping we’re doing a good job and doing an even better job reaching the disadvantaged population who wouldn’t otherwise receive testing since we’re providing it for free,” said Makepeace.

The testing is free and so is the work of these students. They don’t get paid, class credit or clinical hours.

They are volunteers on the frontline of a pandemic.

“We’ll look back one day and be very grateful that we stepped up and did something during this time,” said Hundman.

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