Section: Opinion

Our Health Center misdiagnoses

Common, treatable illnesses often go undiagnosed.

At the end of fall and during the depths of winter, “I need to go to the Health Center” becomes as common as quick hellos and friendly acknowledgements on Middle Path.
The high traffic at the Cox Health and Counseling Center would lead one to believe that it is well-equipped to deal with the onslaught of student illness, but my friends and I have often left misdiagnosed.
College health centers are not meant to serve all the functions of a doctor’s office, but it is reasonable to expect accurate diagnoses for common illnesses such as strep throat, mono and tonsillitis. I have heard of a multitude of students that has reported inaccurate diagnoses, leading to difficulties coping with coursework.
Just last year, I was sick with strep and tonsillitis, which are common illnesses among college students. Despite making multiple trips to the Health Center and insisting that I wasn’t getting better, I was assured that I would be fine and kept being sent home with painkillers and cough drops. The Health Center never gave me a diagnosis.
I ultimately had to go to a clinic in Mount Vernon to get the diagnosis and medicine I needed, which was expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, at this point, I had been missing classes for two weeks, which would have been unnecessary had I received a proper diagnosis in the first place.
Within a couple days of receiving my diagnosis and medicine from the clinic in Mount Vernon, I was virtually healed and ready to return to classes, leaving me to ponder what had gone wrong at the Health Center.
I believe that the problem of misdiagnoses lies in the administration’s lack of attention, communication and dedication to the Health Center and making it as helpful as possible. That the Health Center is unable to provide accurate diagnoses, in addition to being unavailable at times during the night and the weekends, signals a lack of administrative attention and care to the health and needs of students. This lack of care is indicative of a larger administrative culture that denies students the voice and tools they need in order to succeed to their full potential.
Hayley Yussman ’18 is an English and political science major from River Forest, Ill. Contact her at


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