Rhubarb 2020

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b



The Medical Student

instructions from the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians of Hessen (Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Hessen) telling us how to recognise suspected cases, but also, when possible, urging us to use suddenly sparse resources like surgical masks and swab test tubes with extra caution. Although the situation still seemed to be pretty much under control during the first few days of March, day after day it was deteriorating swiftly, with exponentially growing panic prompted by the images and news from Italy overtaking everyone – ranging from your average 70 year old Herold to Jens Spahn and Angela Merkel, right at the top of the government. Two days before the end of my placement, most medical students found they were no longer allowed to start any of their upcoming placements, the start of the new semester got postponed indefinitely and most of us felt rather useless. Wanting to help in what seemed to be an impending medical disaster, we held talks with the clinics working in cooperation with our faculty and, as a result, formed a “Covid-19 Taskforce” – a pool of around 600 medical students at different stages of their education, ready to jump into action and fill in the gaps where personnel was urgently needed. Some of my friends helped out as nurses on non-Covid wards, others collected swab tests, helped out in the lab or got trained as contact tracers. I and a group of ten other students got involved in the “Immunitor” research project at the University Hospital Mannheim- a study which aims to investigate the body’s immune response to the SARS- CoV-2 virus and/or Covid-19 disease. We are responsible for recruitment of the test subjects, administration, sample collections and the pre-analytical work in the lab. For medical students like ourselves this project is proving an exceptional learning opportunity in a rapidly evolving and growing field of science.

By Elizaveta Skarga (K, 2012-2016)

Elizaveta Skarga left Teddies in 2016 and is currently studying Medicine at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. She provided this insight into life as a medical student during the pandemic. Covid-19 caught us all by surprise. As infection hotspots started flaring up across northern Italy, the majority of the medical community was still not sure what to make of this newly emerging virus. At the time I was busy assisting a

General Practitioner during my GP Placement in Weinheim, a town 20km away from Heidelberg. I remember how every day we were receiving new

The “Immunitor” Research Project


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