CAST LIVE Connects CAST Schools in a Time of Social Distancing to Share Stories of Hope and Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This past Friday, CAST Live connected CAST Schools online for stories of hope and resilience. For the first time in our network’s history, students and educators from each of our member schools, including the Advanced Learning Academy, and even future students from CAST Lead (scheduled to open in August 2020) gathered via ZOOM to hear how the SAVE Clinic, led by Dr. Lyssa Ochoa, is fighting back against the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAST LIVE Provides Authentic Learning Experiences
CAST is constantly striving to reinvent schooling in order to maximize learning opportunities for their young learners. In this time when schools are physically closed for the remainder of the school year, learning and the CAST promise of providing each student with authentic learning experiences continue. Through CAST Live we will provide connectedness in a time of social distancing; we will enrich a community in a time of ambiguity and will provide a platform to share stories of hope and resilience. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at CAST are confident that our students will be fully prepared to lead the way.
About the SAVE Clinic and Dr. Lyssa Ochoa
Dr. Lyssa Ochoa is a board-certified vascular surgeon and founder of the San Antonio Vascular and Endovascular Clinic (The SAVE Clinic) in South San Antonio. The mission of The SAVE Clinic is to reduce the number of diabetes-related amputations in San Antonio. Dr. Ochoa was born and raised along the Texas-Mexico border and attended medical school, general surgery residency, and vascular surgery residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. Dr. Ochoa is a board member of the CAST Network and CAST Med High School Advisory Board.
How the SAVE Clinic and Dr. Lyssa Ochoa are Fighting Back
COVID-19 posed new challenges to the SAVE Clinic that drove immediate changes as to how Dr. Ochoa and her staff provided care for her patients.
• Establishing new protocols on how to receive patients at the clinic and how to provide a safe environment with enhanced sanitation
• Adapting to new, ever-changing processes from government, industry and hospitals
• Caring for the wellbeing of staff and their families
Change with COVID-19 is constant. However, Dr. Ochoa is fully prepared,
“What I have learned to do as a surgeon and in my training is to prepare for all scenarios. I have a plan A, or best-case scenario, and a plan B, and something for a worst-case scenario. I believe, preparing in advance for all scenarios brings stability to the practice, it brings stability and confidence to my staff. And that can be translated into confidence and stability and genuine care for our patients.”
Serving the Underserved
The spread of COVID-19 has increased the need for telemedicine. Though not many have access to the internet, “some of our patients have prepaid phones that don’t have enough minutes to be able to video chat. And so, how do we maximize the care while minimizing contact?” To do so, Dr. Ochoa initiated a comprehensive process to help train and educate her patients:
• Walk each patient, step by step, on how to use telemedicine through their cell phones
• Call patients and helping them verbalize their symptoms, “Sometimes just being able to verbalize what their symptoms are and talking to them, we can decide if this is a serious problem, you need to come and see me, or, you’re ok, we can put your clinic visit back.”
• Monitor patients by having them send pictures weekly of their wounds
The goal is to avoid worsening complications. Constantly connecting via phone or any way possible to comfort, ease their anxiety and remind them that the doctors and staff of the SAVE Clinic are still there to take care of them.
The So What: Engage. Learn. Connect.
To conclude her remarks, Dr. Ochoa shared these three final points of advice for CAST students:
1) Engage with those who support the most vulnerable:
“I would look to those businesses, non-profits who have pivoted to take care of our most vulnerable population. I would ask that you reach out to whether it’s the Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, those businesses to see what we can do to make sure that we help that community out.”
2) Keep learning:
“One thing that I think would be very important is to make sure that you continue your education through this process. You have an advantage. We have internet, we have webcams, we have webinars and so there is no reason, that during this period of time, where you’re stuck at home that we cannot continue that education.”
3) Connect with those who need it most:
“I imagine that there are other students who don’t have internet, or don’t have a computer and don’t have this access. Let’s figure out who those students are and make sure we provide them a way to stay connected at this time.”
Grateful for Connecting
Dr. Ochoa and the SAVE Clinic staff embody the very best of San Antonio. Their dedication to their patients and to our community is exemplary. We are grateful for their partnership and humbled by Dr. Ochoa’s leadership. CAST Students and Educators are inspired by how this experience, this conversation, this moment of connectedness, will shape how our students will tackle the challenges of tomorrow.
Watch as our CAST Network connects LIVE with Dr. Lyssa Ochoa >>