Armstrong students view open heart surgery
For one day, at least, a group of local high school students could describe class with the phrase “heart-stopping.”
Fourteen AP biology and enrichment students from Armstrong School District were invited to watch open heart surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh last week as part of the hospital's Open Heart Surgery Observation program.
The program, which kicked off in 2008, has hosted classes from more than 70 school districts in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, along with groups from local nursing schools and universities.
Program coordinator Pat Wolf said more than 5,000 students have witnessed operations through the initiative during the past four years.
“Students observe an open heart surgery from the enclosed observation deck which overlooks the operating room,” said Wolf.
“I remain with the students, explaining the procedure and answering questions. Often a member of the surgical team will also come up and talk with them about what they've seen and answer questions about their various careers.”
In fact, aside from promoting healthy living to students, Wolf said the program exists as a way to draw student interest in health related jobs.
“The benefit of the program, we hope, is an increased awareness of careers in medicine,” said Wolf.
“(It's a) ‘real life' look at what these (jobs) involve.”
And if you talk to any of the ASD students, many of whom were already interested in pursuing health careers, the program clearly works.
“It made me want to be involved in the medical field when I graduate,” said Courtney Slagle, 17, of Boggs.
“Now I realize how important doctors are and the challenges they face in the operating room.”
In addition to a possible career path, many of the students said the experience provided a profound new perspective.
“It was more real than anything I've seen on TV,” said Ciara Johnson, 17, of Kittanning.
“Seeing the heart pumping and watching the hospital staff work together made me realize how much time and experience it takes (to perform) surgery. When the heart skipped a beat, so did mine.”
Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.