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Students share negative experiences with Broadlawns, Broadlawns responds

THE BROADLAWNS COMMUNITY CLINIC AT DRAKE is free for all Drake students for any medical check-up or counseling services. PHOTO BY Meghan Holloran | photo editor

On Sept. 7, the Broadlawns Medical Center opened the Broadlawns Community Clinic at Drake. Students attended the grand opening event and received promotional shirts, cups and pens as further encouragement to utilize the services of the on-campus clinic.

In a Sept. 20 press release, Drake University leaders endorsed it as the optimal resource for medical treatment.

“The clinic will increase the medical services readily available to Drake students while also providing neighborhood residents a convenient place to access care,” Drake President Marty Martin said in the news release.

Broadlawns Medical Center President and CEO Dr. Anthony B. Coleman shared an equally optimistic viewpoint, stating, “We are so proud to partner with Drake University and provide a state-of-the-art medical clinic that will best serve the school and the surrounding community.”  

However, after conducting interviews with several students regarding their experiences at Broadlawns, the contrast of student experiences to the promised services became evident. Broadlawns was initially contacted for a request for their statement on broader allegations from students, as well as a patient story which was later omitted from this article.

“You indicate you have a ‘compilation of other negative student experiences at Broadlawns,’ and again, that’s a significant charge we take seriously. It’s challenging to address that general statement without specifics, and if you can tell us more about those experiences, we will review them,” Broadlawns stated in an email response to The Times-Delphic. 

Henceforth, several students who were willing to share their experiences in better detail agreed to be interviewed and have their stories sent to Broadlaws for a subsequent response. 

Jane Doe’s story

The first patient, who is being dubbed Jane Doe, shared their experiences with the Broadlawns Clinic: 

“In April of 2022, I went to the Broadlawns Clinic urgent care — separate from the on-campus clinic — with a sore throat and swollen tonsils. Something that I have struggled with since birth is abnormally large tonsils, and sometimes when they get swollen, they get pretty close to touching each other, which causes obvious problems. I explained that I have a history of tonsillitis, sinusitis and infections in the ear, nose and throat category. 

“My strep, flu and COVID tests all came back negative, and it seemed like that was it. It didn’t seem like they were considering anything else and told me to go home and take over-the-counter prescriptions. I asked if it could be something so simple as a sinus infection, but the doctor reassured me that that was not the case. Two days later, I was still feeling very sick and my tonsils weren’t shrinking, so I went to a different urgent care clinic. After running tests there, it was determined that I had a double ear and sinus infection. They immediately gave me B-12 and vitamin shots, as well as two prescriptions to take for the next few weeks. As soon as I started my treatment plan, my symptoms lessened, and I felt much better. “It’s just frustrating to think that I could have had that relief sooner had the doctor at Broadlawns not dismissed my thoughts.

“I don’t know how I feel about [Drake’s partnership with Broadlawns.] The same thing happened to me at the on-campus Broadlawns, where I was dismissed with no diagnosis only to go see another doctor, and they told me what I had.”

LR’s story

The second experience comes from a student who requested to be referred to as “LR:”

“I went to the new Broadlawns clinic across the Drake campus after having symptoms of an infection for a couple of days. When I saw the doctor and nurses, I did not see any of them wash their hands or throw away/wash used equipment. The nurses also did not do all the standard practices before the doctor came in, like checking my blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc. 

“They really just asked about my symptoms and typed them into their system. Once the doctor came in, he confirmed that I had the start of a bacterial infection, but he was not going to give me antibiotics because ‘it was not serious enough’. I was given Flonase to ‘clear my sinuses’, but it did not help with anything because I had an infection. 

“Afterwards, my symptoms had worsened to the point where I could barely speak from my tonsils being swollen, my ear was aching from the amount of fluid I had built up, my sinuses felt bruised and I then developed pink eye. After my symptoms had worsened because of the lack of proper treatment, I returned to Broadlawns. When I met with the nurse, she questioned why I had not received antibiotics. I saw the same doctor from my previous visit, and he commented on how I definitely did not look well. I told him I had been taking the Flonase as prescribed, to which he curiously asked ‘You’re positive you’re taking the Flonase?’ I told him yes, again, to which he then left to look at the computer. When he came back, he gave me antibiotics even though he stated that he wasn’t seeing all the signs of the illness for the medication he was [giving] to treat me. “I felt like I was not being fully heard, and I was angry because of the lack of genuine concern for my discomfort.

“I am weary of the Drake and Broadlawns partnership because, based on my experience and my peers’ experiences, they do not seem like the most credential care for the students. Tuition costs $60,000 a year, and with the pricey tuition, I believe we deserve more certified medical care.”

Both Jane Doe and LR’s stories were sent to Broadlawns for a statement, following Broadlawns’ request for further inquiry regarding student experiences. 

“Thank you for the continued communication with Broadlawns Medical Center. We are disappointed that on 10/6/2023, we requested additional, pertinent details on your patient stories, and have not been provided with the necessary, follow-up information that would allow us to complete our internal review and quality control process,” Broadlawns said in an email response.

The TD also reached out to a Drake health professional and administration for a comment, to which they responded that they would redirect the message to Broadlawns.

The subsequent text in the email was a mission statement from Broadlawns, discussing their goal to facilitate positive relationships throughout the Polk county area. The email concluded by thanking the public for allowing Broadlawns to serve the Drake public and beyond.

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