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Medical Transport Must Be an Option

Confidential medical transport has been a hot topic on campus lately, with UA petitions to Dean Benedict circulating, articles in The Tech, and talk of the incident that occurred at Kappa Sigma in which an individual had to be taken to the hospital, resulting in the fraternity now facing the Cambridge License Commission. In Tuesday’s edition of The Tech, Richard Scali of the CLC is quoted as saying, “I think MIT students are smart enough to know that if someone’s sick you do whatever it takes to get them help’ regardless of legal ramifications.” However, to a FSILG member taking care of a friend who has had too much to drink, the answer to that question isn’t as simple as Scali would like to think.

To a FSILG member, their living group is one of the most important parts of their life at MIT. One example is the response to the column written by Veena Thomas a few weeks ago making an analogy between fraternities and sororities and cults [“The Cult Factor,” Sep. 22]. The student response to this was strong -- I attended the IFC Leaders Retreat, and by the end of the retreat, not only had almost every person there read the column and was angered by it, but at least three people were already writing responses to show MIT how wrong the assumptions in the column were.

Many students at MIT think of themselves as an FSILG member first, and a MIT student second, indicating the high priority that their house takes over everything else that they do.

When a student is asked to make a choice between their FSILG and the life of an individual, obviously the individual will come first. But sometimes the choice is not that easy. Imagine that one of your friends has had too much to drink, and they are not feeling well. But how do you know when it is something that will pass in a few hours, or if this is a life and death situation? It is these borderline cases that confidential medical transport will affect the most. The way the system works now, many people will see one of their friends is sick, but are not sure how severe it is. And when you are not sure, questions begin to arise. What if this person doesn’t really need medical attention immediately? What if I take them to the Medical Center anyway? Will the CLC kick us all out of our house? Will my FSILG have a future? If someone needs help, these questions should not be an issue at all!

However, because the Campus Police are the only EMTs on our campus, all of these questions are asked every time someone gets sick from alcohol, putting lives in danger. The goal of confidential medical transport is not that students do not have to be held accountable for their actions. No student is going to be less responsible because CMT is an option -- think about it, does anybody ever want to get sick? CMT would put the well-being of an individual first, which is the way it should be. MIT students are considered some of the brightest in the world, but for the most part we are no more educated than the average college student on alcohol abuse. Without confidential medical transport as an option, students are left to guess how sick an individual is and how badly they need help. And this is not something that we should be doing --it should be left to the professionals.

Helen Lee ’02
IFC Public Relations Chair