Students from this year’s AP Biology class were joined by last year’s Human Anatomy & Physiology class on a trip to Providence St. Vincent’s for the Heart Watch Surgical Viewing where we watched a surgery to replace the aortic valve and a coronary bypass in a 64 year old man.
We left school at 5:30 am on Wednesday November 29th in 2 district vans and a district car. When we arrived at St. Vincent’s, we were met by the Heart Watch coordinator who explained the day to us, then ushered us in to talk to the valve replacement representative who talked to us about not only the valve but what her job as a sales representative entailed.
After speaking with the valve representative, we were provided a continental breakfast and then entered the auditorium where we listened to the Surgical RN and the Prep Nurse explain their roles in the OR and entertain questions about their jobs, education, compensation, and the surgery itself. Then Dr. Kirker explained the surgery he would be performing – replacing the aortic valve and using a vein from the leg to do a cardiac artery bypass.
When Dr. Kirker left to perform the surgery, a Physician’s Assistant in Cardiac Surgery, Ian Hartman, narrated the procedure, explaining everything we saw from putting the heart on they bypass machine to closing the chest cavity and then what recovery would be like. He also talked about various professions in the healthcare field and answered questions from the viewers. We were amazed that the patient would be sitting up by that evening, walking the next day, and home within 4-5 days. While we couldn’t know the patient’s name due to HIPPA rules, we did learn that he’d been in education his whole career and he eagerly gave his consent for his surgery to be viewed by students so they could learn.
The La Center students conducted themselves in a respectful and polite manner throughout the trip -from a mishap with tire pressure in a van resulting in a later-than-desired arrival time, to the presentations and our departure. I was especially proud of our students when the video was turned off, but the doctor was still talking, and most people in the auditorium either started talking or got up to leave and our students listened respectfully until he was finished talking. The same thing happened another time when the director gave us a task to do; most students took it as break time but our students stayed put to finish the evaluation.
Thank you to Staci Firl, Laurie Howard and Marina Thompson for volunteering as drivers and chaperones. And thank you to Carol Patton and Joan Daugherty for helping to make the trip happen.
Loren Brown, Tim Howard, Cole Seaman, Dylan Seaman, Emily Eaquinta, Alyssa McKnight, Jonae Jacobson, Emma Freeman, Kimberly Blaskeslee, Joyce Vierck, Grace Wallls
Sarah Mayolo, Jane Lambert, Lisa Biscieglia, Molly Edwards, Bethany Whitten, Molly Coffman