Your typical operating room doesn’t accommodate 130 high school students — especially not in the midst of an open heart surgery.
But through a program, “Live from the Heart,” broadcast by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and hosted at Des Moines University in collaboration with the Science Center of Iowa, local students were able to witness a procedure — and hear directly from the surgical team — in real time.
Each student received a booklet outlining the careers and techniques that contribute to the successful surgery. The group was patched in to watch a broadcast of a surgery — from opening the chest to closing the sternum — along with students from across the country.
Interwoven with explanations about the surgical steps were first-hand accounts about the responsibilities and career paths of various surgical team members, including a physician assistant, scrub nurse, perfusionist, anesthesiologist and cardiovascular surgeon.
Following the broadcast, DMU anatomy department faculty and students showcased and explained various specimens for attendees.
Student attendees felt “Live from the Heart” was ‘a great opportunity for students to see a live surgery and experience what it would actually be like,’ and the experience inspired some of them to think about starting a heart surgery club on their campus and to look into the career of perfusionist.
“I think it is an amazing opportunity for high schools students to be a part of a live surgery and then interact with medical students and professors and actual human organs after the simulcast,” says Kacia Cain, a Central Campus faculty whose students participated. “I am so grateful to the Science Center and DMU for continuing to provide this unique experience for students!”