Chicago medical students skip class to care for immigrants

Chicago (CBS) – She’s training to be a doctor, but she’s skipping classes to form a mobile medical unit to help immigrants arriving in Chicago.

CBS 2’s Noel Brennan took to the streets with the team to see how they care for their communities.

Most students don’t miss classes for good reasons. Sarah Izquierd is a first year medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“It’s not a formal class because I’m not attending a pathology study group right now, but I still wish I could have attended,” said Izquierdo, adding, “I can catch up this weekend.”

She’s taking a break from studying sorting medicine in Dr. Evelyn Figueroa’s kitchen.

Figueroa is a Family Medicine Physician at UI Health and Director of the Pilsen Food Pantry, which helps provide food, clothing and medical care to new immigrants.

“Grassroots activity is characterized by activities in basements, kitchens, in doorways, outside buildings, etc.,” Figueroa said. “I just do what I need to do to make it happen.”

Along with Figueroa’s husband, who is also a doctor, Izquierdo and other UIC medical students form a mobile medical team.

Their patients are immigrants who live in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department.

“Right now there are 50 to 80 people in the police station sleeping on the floor and they have not yet had a medical examination. We are at least trying to conduct a medical examination for them,” Izquierdo said. rice field.

All the medicines they sort and pack are given to asylum seekers, most of whom have never seen a doctor since they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

“At least three couples have fallen ill so far,” Izquierdo said. “We gave them cold medicine and could hear their lungs.”

The team will meet with over 30 immigrants within District 20.

“Even things like cough drops are just welcome relief and we’re happy to provide them,” she added.

Izquierdo can attend classes, but he would rather take care of this community.

“It’s worth skipping classes,” she said. “This is why I went to medical school.”

Mr. Izquierdo and fellow medical students also checked on the safety of those staying at the 12th district police station. From there, they visited more than 70 migrants who have moved into new emergency shelters set up in Pilsen this week.

All care provided to immigrants by medical students and doctors is free, and all medicines are donated.

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