“Have You Heard of Cough Drops?” Says Columbia Health to Student Dying of TB


JOHN JAY–Simon Nelson CC ’20 was suffering from a debilitating cough, so he went to the Columbia Health Center for assistance. Unlike most universities, Columbia requires students to provide a doctor’s note to be granted an excused absence from class. Columbia Health is the easiest and most trusted option for most students, due to its spotless record of timely service and thorough care. “Naturally,” Nelson said, “I went to Columbia Health because I knew my symptoms would be taken seriously and I would be treated by only the finest doctors.”

“At first,” Nelson said, “I thought it was just your run-of-the-mill cold, but I knew something was up when I coughed so hard I hacked up blood in the middle of my Gender and Sexuality lecture. So I headed to Columbia Health, hoping to receive some quick, state-of-the-art medical care.”

“I probably should have known something was up when I entered and didn’t even check in with a human, just a slimy iPad from 2008. Instead, I foolishly decided to stick around. I sat in the waiting room for two hours, sweating profusely and hacking up blood. The only staff member who talked to me was the receptionist, and she just asked me to be quiet so she could harass a freshman with strep throat in peace.”

Nelson says that he described his symptoms—coughing up blood, weight loss, chest pain, fever, and night sweats—to the doctor, hoping to receive an accurate diagnosis. “The doctor listened in silence, looking bored. I think he even checked Instagram once when I was talking. Finally, he just said, ‘Sounds like a cold,’ and shoved a manila envelope of Throat Coat Tea and Ricolas at me.”

“I mean, dude, I’m fucking dying over here and all these people do for me is give me six Kleenex and instructions on how to consume a cough drop? I could have gotten this from the homeless man in front of Duane Reade,” said Nelson. He added that the doctor refused to give him a medical excuse from class, even after he waved his blood-spattered Spanish notes in his face.

As of press time, Nelson has seen a real doctor and has been diagnosed with a life-threatening case of active tuberculosis. He is currently staying in a quarantine room and taking a daily dose of Isoniazid. When Federalist reporters reached out to Nelson’s Columbia Health doctor for comment on his case, her response was simply, “What is Isoniazid? A brand of cough drops?”