The Not-So-Healthy, Health Center Experience

By Kathleen Schipelliti
Class of 2018

The flu has hit campus hard this season, and like most students, I have been diligent about hand washing and disinfecting. However, it seemed as though all of a sudden, I came down with flu-like symptoms such as a sore throat, muscle aches, headache and fever. I turned to the on-campus health center, where I knew many students had gone to be diagnosed. A nurse practitioner took me to the back room to be assessed. I didn’t have a high fever, but that was credited to me having received the flu shot. With no swab, or other formal testing, she determined that I had the flu based on my symptoms. My treatment was to consist of pain killers, cough drops and rest. I was told that a letter would be sent to the Dean of Students, and that I would have to leave campus or have friends deliver meals to my room. I opted to head home, and was sent off wearing a facemask to prevent the spread of the flu.

My mother picked me up an hour later and was shocked to hear that the nurse practitioner did nothing to confirm the diagnosis. We headed straight for my primary care physician. My doctor ordered a sample to be taken from my nose to test for the flu and my throat to do a rapid strep test. Within 15 minutes, the doctor came back into the room and said “Good news! You don’t have the flu, you actually have a strep infection.” I was promptly given antibiotics.

It turns out leaving strep throat untreated can cause complications such as rheumatic fever. I was shocked that the health center misdiagnosed me, but even more shocked that this could have easily been prevented with a quick swab. It makes me wonder how many other students have been misdiagnosed as well. Let this be a lesson to all students who use the health center. Make sure you are properly diagnosed.

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