University Health Services provides UT students with excellent health care at an affordable price. Right now, UHS is failing to provide some students in urgent need of medical attention with appropriate access to health care.
UHS’ Urgent Care Clinic is only open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., when students are typically in classes or academic-related activities. On weekends and in the evenings, hours when UHS is inaccessible, students are more likely to participate in risky activities that could result in sickness or injuries that require medical attention. Young adults are known for their risky decisions, especially concerning binge drinking, risky sexual behaviour, physical violence and diet-related sicknesses.
When UHS is closed but a student is in need of urgent care, they either have to wait for UHS to open Monday morning or find another way to get the medical attention they need. UHS needs to keep its urgent care center open on weekends so that students have an affordable option at a convenient location.
Nat Watkins, psychology junior, shared her story about an incident in her freshman year when she jumped over a fence and and hurt herself. “The top of the fence scraped against my butt — there’s no elegant way to put it,” said Watkins. This accident took place on a Friday night and resulted in a two-inch cut that was quite deep and left a big scar. The next morning, Watkins had to take a bus to reach UHS because she did not have a car and could not walk very well, since the cut was on her butt. When she reached UHS, she found out that it was not open.
“It turns out that I needed stitches, (but) I couldn’t get them because UHS wasn’t open,” said Watkins. She went to an emergency clinic on the Drag but was given staples instead of stitches and prescribed the wrong antibiotics. If UHS had been open to stitch up and cover the wound on her butt, Watkins believes she would have received better medical care and advice.
Students tend to trust UHS’ health care services more than they do any other emergency clinics near campus because we are more familiar with the doctors, our information is already on file, the location is significantly more convenient, the cost is more affordable and there’s generally a shorter wait time.
UHS’ Urgent Care Clinic can treat conditions such as sprains, strains, broken bones, migraines, persistent vomiting, eye injuries, wheezing, asthma, allergic reactions and even wounds needing stitches. Many students, including Watkins, have been to some urgent care clinics in Austin but have never been to UHS’ Urgent Care Clinic because it has not been open when they needed medical attention.
By not providing students with access to health care on weekends or at night, UHS neglects to care for students in urgent need of medical attention, which could cause further health complications for that student. If UHS’ Urgent Care Clinic was open for three to four hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings, students would be able to more conveniently access appropriate medical care for nonemergency but urgent conditions. UHS is a better option for urgent care because it can be difficult for students to access medical services from other providers, owing to logistical issues and affordability. It is important for the University to make sure its students are healthy and taken care of, even outside of the normal business hours.
Dighe is a Plan II and Neuroscience sophomore from Houston.