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Uniontown Area High School students observe open-heart surgery

A group of students from Uniontown Area High School took a field trip to Pittsburgh to observe open-heart surgery.

Fifteen students in Jodie Wells' gifted student program made the journey to Allegheny General Hospital to observe a four-hour double-bypass surgery.

Sitting just above the operation in the observation room, the students were able to witness the entire procedure.

"It was a great experience," student Caileigh Carei said, "we got to see what it was really like."

Wells said she heard of the surgery trip opportunities from a fellow teacher and thought that the prospect of taking the students to observe an actual procedure would be an exciting opportunity to offer them.

"It was a wonderful experience for them," Wells said. "I had heard about this last year and I called in May to see if we could set something up."

The double bypass surgery was preformed by Stephen Bailey, who was assisted by a team of about 12 people.

The surgeon and his team removed a section of a vein from the patient's leg that was then used in the procedure.

"It was really interesting and it was way worth it," said student Joe Gentilcore, who hopes to one day become a surgeon. "I think that the experience added even more interest for me."

"I had heard about other schools that did this and I was excited that we were able to go," student Erik Klatt said, "it was pretty cool to see a surgery. It was very detailed and it was interesting to watch."

For some students, the experience hit closer to home, giving them a glimpse into what some of their loved ones have endured.

"I really wanted to go because I have family members who have had the surgery," said Cody Maust. "It was really interesting to experience."

Wells said that she was thrilled with the experience and hopes to make the trip an annual event for her students.

"I really thought that it would be a great opportunity," student Daniella Risha said. "Not many people get the chance to see something like that. We could see the heart pumping the entire time. It was really interesting to be able to see something like that firsthand and I think that it is amazing to see how far we have come in technology."

The trip was made possible by the Allegheny-Singer Research Institute.

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