Nathan Robinson had an opportunity to return to his homeland T&T when the coronavirus began to rise in the United Kingdom.
Instead, the medical student opted to stay in London.
Not only did he stay there but he also chose to volunteer his time and training to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.
The medical student, who is in his fifth year of studies with the University College of London, during an interview with Hema Ramkissoon on CNC3’s The Morning Brew, said his passion has always been to save lives.
So for him staying to help fight COVID-19 was almost second nature.
“For me personally it’s always been my passion to do medicine and I thought to myself if I’m already here might as well stay. And I thought to myself I have the time, I have the desire and I have over five years, racked up the clinical knowledge and experience to be of use to the doctors on the frontline. So it seemed to be a call and I answered really.”
Robinson, 24, attended Hillview College and won a National Open Scholarship.
He then earned a spot in one of the top medical schools in the UK, to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.
But while it was easy for him to voluntarily work with the University College of London Hospital, he admitted his family did not take the news about his decision very well.
“When I mentioned it to my mum and my uncle, initially they were very, very concerned, they tried to discourage me a little bit. But then I think they came to the realisation that I couldn’t be really swayed and I was quite set on volunteering at UCL hospital. So what was first discouragement, they now encouraged me and they send messages of love and they, just you know, well wishes.”
Robinson said though the reality of the coronavirus was not easy to digest.
In the UK there have been over 160, 000 cases with over 20,000 reported deaths.
Hospitals, according to reports coming out of the UK, have been strained because of the number of cases.
He said his first day walking in was challenging.
“It’s a very, very scary process when you think of being on the front line with this virus. We’ve seen that no one is essentially exempt from it from the layperson on the street to the Prime Minister of the UK. I just realised this is the reality of the profession that I chose. And so once I took the necessary precautions and adhere to the strict prevention control procedures, I will as much as possible try to do my part.”
It has been just over a month since Robinson has been volunteering to help fight the virus.
He said he was initially involved in preparing wards to take in the influx of patients coming in.
Now he said he is relieved that there has been a decrease in the number of patients being admitted to the hospital.
While he has not lost any of his medical colleagues to COVID-19, he said there are friends whose loved succumbed to the virus and it has been “tragic” hearing the stories of loss and death.
This is why he is sending a message to youngsters in Trinidad and Tobago, to take the virus seriously and follow all instructions meant to prevent its spread.
“My advice specifically for the young people in Trinidad, we have to be aware that we do have a moral and social responsibility to protect the elderly and the vulnerable in society and so I would say to those young people, really adhere to the strict social distancing measures that have been implemented cause this is something we all need to come together to fight and win.”