University of Lynchburg medical science student skips graduation to treat COVID-19 patients in New York

LYNCHBURG, Va – An early congratulations video from the University of Lynchburg’s president is not how Mordechai Sacks wanted to be told he finished his Doctor of Medical Science program.

He skipped the cap and gown, trading them in for scrubs and masks.

“I’m in what was originally the epicenter, New Rochelle. There was really no way for us to event plan, attend a graduation,” Sacks said.

Sacks has been in medicine for nine years.

He spent the last year online learning about emergency management and global health.

Something he didn’t know he’d have to put into practice right away in New York City, the epicenter of COVID-19.

“I’m working the front lines trying to keep people from overwhelming the emergency department,” Sacks said.

Sacks said because of the program, he was watching the virus spread in China back in January, helping him prepare his bosses before their first case last month.

“I underestimated how much equipment we were really going to need because we ran out. At least we had something,” Sacks said.

Sacks has 5,000 healthy and sick patients who he has to consistently check in with via telemedicine.

“Those patients I have to go to their homes and check up on them and unfortunately a lot of them are COVID positive. So, I’m going into their homes prepped in HAZMAT gear,” Sacks said.

Sacks said he’s not sure what the next few days or weeks hold, but he’s confident in his abilities to help these patients.

“This education was great. It totally prepared me for this,” Sacks said.

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