Health Studies co-op student saves a life

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Co-op student Jashandeep Sohal is presented with an award by her employers, Rex and Meera MohamedDuring her first year of studies, Jashandeep Sohal volunteered at the Waterloo Walk-in Clinic, one of 17 medical clinics that comprise the family-owned business founded by Rex Mohamed and his wife Meera. Sohal went on to spend two co-op work terms at the clinic, during which she not only recovered thousands of dollars in overlooked billing, she also saved a life.

That critical, lifesaving moment almost didn’t happen. To begin with, Sohal, a Health Studies student, wasn’t initially in the co-op program.

“I worked really hard during first year to get my grades up so I could switch into co-op because I wanted that experience,” she says.

Another reason that lifesaving moment almost didn’t happen? The Waterloo Walk-in Clinic had never before hired a co-op student. It wasn’t until Sohal came along that Mohamed even considered the idea.

“Eventually we decided to say yes to it and I am very happy that I stood by my decision,” said Mohamed.

As part of her job training, Sohal was taught how to handle emergency situations. Just two days after this instruction was completed, she was called upon to put it to use. At the time, the clinic was very busy and had a two-hour wait time. When signing in upon arrival, a patient with a language barrier simply wrote down the word “allergy” as their reason for needing a doctor.

“We would have really had a tragedy but for her identifying the problem right off the bat,” says Mohamed of Sohal, who recognized the signs of anaphylaxis, an acute and life-threatening allergic reaction, and immediately brought the patient back to see the doctor. Sohal retrieved the clinic’s medical kit and without hesitation administered adrenaline. She then called 911 while the physician on duty attended to the patient.

Co-op student Jashandeep Sohal reviews test results at the Waterloo Walk-in Clinic with owners Rex and Meera Mohamed.While it may pale in comparison to saving a life, Sohal is also credited with tracking down thousands of dollars in missed billing opportunities for the clinic. While correcting a billing software error she had made, she discovered additional errors that had been overlooked. Determined to prevent similar issues in future, Sohal came up with a workable solution which she then shared with engineers at the billing software company. Since then, Mohamed’s business is experiencing the highest return of funds since its inception over thirty years ago.

Working at a walk-in clinic has not only helped Sohal to connect her classroom learnings to real-world applications, it has also taught her a lot about herself.

“I realize that I really want to help people,” she says. “This is something that’s made for me. Every day is different. It’s not like your typical office job. You never know what’s going to happen in terms of emergency situations.”

Mohamed credits Sohal with building the bridge between the Waterloo co-op program and his clinic and has entrusted her with hiring her co-op replacement when she heads back to class. His only requirement?

“We just want a duplicate of Jashandeep,” Mohamed says.