Tuesday March 10, 2020, 2.30 pm. It looked like a regular Academic Senate meeting: program approval, someone is for, nobody against, two who "for any reason" abstained, some information, maybe a little discussion about whether or not to connect the two internal departments and call them II. internal clinic, and then hurry home to take care of the children. But it was completely different. "We students want to help," came in the miscellaneous session from the senators at the window.
And so the facebook group „volunteers from students of medical faculties“ was established. On the first day 1500 members enrolled, now there are more than 5000.
Our Third Faculty of Medicine was traditionally the first. Already on Wednesday it was agreed with the FNKV that next week the first group will begin work, on Monday, will receive initial training, will be examined by GP and from Tuesday go to practice. Soon Thomayer Hospital and Hospital Bulovka also joined. Two days later, on Thursday 12 March 2020, other medical schools and hospitals were very still cautious about such activity and the Government of the Czech Republic decided on the work obligation of students of 5th and 6th year only five days after our spontaneous initiative on Sunday 15 March 2020.
"What can the medical students actually do," asked those who do not belong to the Vinohrady area. But we were clear. A lot of work is done at the patient's bedside, members can babysit by the children of the hospital's regular employees who would otherwise have to stay at home, they can take care of the clients of retirement homes and other social services, can donate blood, hold services on information lines (foreign students also in English, Spanish, German or Russian), working in hygienic stations, participate at triage in hospital tents, helping at collection points and laboratories, treating wounds to homeless people, sewing masks, simply to be available wherever a hand is needed. Such a similar student, but also national, solidarity and action we have perhaps experienced only the last six weeks of 1989.
And students don't have it easy at all. Although it does not seem at first glance, the school continues to run online uncompromisingly, and the examiners are tough on the Skype screen. However, what cannot be learned from practical instruction over the internet will multiply with hands-on in first-line combat conditions. Until today, the term “Tyvek” knew perhaps only those who insulated the attic with breathable roof underlay at home, but today practically everyone knows that it is a white suit, which can be pretty hot at the patient's bed.
More and more we hear not only from medical doctors, but especially from young doctors that before and after the practice, they were constantly asking when they would get rid of all the papers and meet the medicine they went to college for. Now they finally succeeded.
Now, however, it is a good opportunity to thank the students of our faculty of all programs for having started this very deserving volunteer activity, to which other faculties gradually joined. We appreciate your commitment and share the concerns of first-line fighters with you.
As members of the Collegium of the Dean of the Third Faculty of Medicine, we would like to thank you for your tough and devoted work for the sick and for the dignified representation of the faculty by our selfies in the right outfit. When someone asks us today, “where are you sewing,” they will not hear “clothes at Natali Ruden” or “costume at Klára Nademlýnská” but “face masks at our medical students”. Thank you.
Doc. MUDr. Monika Arenbergerová, PhD
On behalf of Dean´s collegium