Jumping to the front lines to help hospitals in New York City combat the coronavirus pandemic after just graduating medical school isn’t an easy task, but Lizbeth Hu is ready to dive into the fight against COVID-19.
Three days after graduating from New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine on April 3, Hu, a member of the Hillsborough High School Class of 2011 and graduate of the University of Maryland, has been working as a COVID-19 junior physician and said she is happy to be giving back to the people of New York.
“This is my opportunity to give something back,” Hu said in an exclusive interview. “Of course I was afraid. I am afraid, not just for myself, but for my patients. But I also knew that the city that made me a doctor was struggling.”
New York hits home for Hu, who had been working and treating patients in the city during her time at NYU.
The Hillsborough High alum finished up her final rotation for medical school in February and was all set to graduate in May.
When NYU representatives asked Hu and other medical school students who had finished their requirements in March about graduating a month early and joining the fight against COVID-19, she said she jumped at the chance to help New York patients battling the virus.
“I thought of all the New York City patients when I first started out on the wards who taught me about empathy and compassion. Whatever skills I have now, I have because of them,” Hu added.
Since joining in the fight against the coronavirus, Hu’s role has been similar to an intern position, she said.
She works with a team of residents and attendings who are senior to her to oversee patients who have tested positive for the virus who have come into the hospital.
She will review each patient’s vitals, participate in their treatment plans and communicate with their families about how they are progressing.
Hu said NYU prepared her very well to step into the fire and help battle the coronavirus.
“I’ve been preparing to be a doctor all through medical school,” Hu said. “I have been challenged in ways I could never have imagined, and I have grown more than I ever expected. NYU has prepared me very well, and I’m ready to face new challenges and opportunities in residency.”
As for having to participate in a virtual graduation ceremony, Hu admits that there was a sense of loss not having a real graduation ceremony like she imagined, but also looks at it as one unlike another in history.
Even though she and her peers were separated in their own homes, they were all still embarking on a new journey together, Hu said.
Hu found out on March 20 that the next chapter in her journey will be a residency at The Johns Hopkins Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, which she said she is excited to begin sometime this summer.
For now, however, Hu is focused on helping combat the coronavirus and is thrilled to be a part of the fight.
“It’s unusual to work in a hospital where I’ve trained for so many years and experience so much change because of the pandemic, but there is an incredible sense of solidarity within its walls,” Hu said. “I look around at the people I am working beside, the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and custodial teams, and I feel so much pride to be a part of what they are doing.”