Increase student access to medical trainings and resources
January 27, 2023
As a community dedicated to each other’s well-being and our collective Common Good, Bowdoin students should have more access to basic life-saving resources and training.
With the tragic death of Omar Osman ’26 this past fall from an allergic reaction, we are reminded of how important access to these resources is.
Currently, College housing lacks first-aid kits, epinephrine (epi) and Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs). Furthermore, a limited number of students are trained to use these resources.
This is unacceptable.
The College already provides these resources in many academic buildings and athletic facilities; extending this access to housing is imperative for student safety. Proctors and Residential Assistants (RAs) in Residential Life should be equipped to respond to emergency situations in housing, similar to how all Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) members must be Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified to become trip leaders. The College must build on these programs and provide more comprehensive access to emergency care resources.
We have a few ideas.
Last semester, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) organized and led a training on identifying opioid overdoses and administering Narcan. The College should take a cue from BSG and begin providing students with more opportunities like this. For example, Bowdoin should open up the yearly Red Cross CPR and AED programs already organized for its employees. Further, WFR and WFA certifications required for BOC trip leaders should be expanded upon and opened to students who aren’t members of the organization.
Another opportunity for CPR and epi training would be during orientation. Some high schools include CPR training as a graduation requirement, but many Bowdoin students have never had access to first aid trainings or certifications. Offering first aid courses could equip incoming students with lifesaving skills to make the Bowdoin community safer.
By providing these resources and encouraging widespread access to them, we as a community can enter semesters to come with one more critical resource and tool.
We want to stress that it is no student’s responsibility to come to the aid of another student who is in crisis and that students and other bystanders cannot and should not be a substitute for those with medical expertise. Students are also not responsible for the outcomes if and when they do choose to respond, but emergency response training can give students the knowledge—and confidence—to act in situations that require immediate assistance.
Prioritizing the Common Good means looking inward and recognizing when we as a community can do better in caring for, connecting with and valuing our peers.
This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is composed of Nikki Harris, Kaya Patel, Lily Randall, John Schubert, Juliana Vandermark, Halina Bennet and Seamus Frey.
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