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Medical students' education saved at Loma Linda University

November 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The dreams of becoming doctors are very much alive, for several medical students from Puerto Rico. The students asked for help and got it from Loma Linda University School of Medicine, where they'll finish their education.

The students are the newest third- and fourth-year medical students admitted to Loma Linda University Medical School, already weeks into the academic year.

"It is usually very difficult to transfer from one school to another school, but under extraordinary circumstances like this, the accrediting bodies allow us to do that," said Dr. Roger Hadley, dean of Loma Linda University Medical School.

Last month these 11 were among the 275 medical students unable to finish their education after San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Puerto Rico lost its accreditation.

It was a tough pill to swallow for Mario Rojas, who has just one more year to go.

"It's been kind of an emotional and very tough, but luckily there've been people that are helping us out and supporting us, just like Loma Linda has," said Rojas.

Rojas says he just happened to be at Loma Linda doing a medical rotation when he learned he didn't have a school to go back to, and began asking about the possibility of transferring.

After a month in limbo students finally arrived in the Inland Empire, but they still have a long road ahead as they make up for lost time.

"They just told us we're about 20 weeks off from the schedule but they're being kind enough to make arrangements to work around that to see what they can do for us," said third-year medical student Christina Carpintero.

Thursday they were introduced to the hospital setting where they will continue their medical training.

For Rojas, who is from Torrance, it is a homecoming. But for all, including Carpintero from Puerto Rico, it is a blessing.

"Loma Linda was actually very, very nice and kind to us they were one of the ones that sped up the process because they knew how difficult it was and time was ticking we needed to move fast," said Carpintero.

They may have a lot of catching up to do - but they are thrilled to do it.

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