Seventy-three Plainfield High School – Central Campus honor students watched an open-heart surgery as it was being done on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 thanks to the Live from the Heart program at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
The students are in Debbie Pohlmann’s human anatomy and physiology class. PHSCC students have participated in the program for six years, she said.
The two-plus hour surgery was broadcast in the hospital’s auditorium in front of more than 200 students from several different high schools.
Just watching the surgery live is a great experience, but students also could ask questions of the surgical team as they performed the coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
“We weren’t in the surgery room, but they are next door, and it’s live and we are able to talk to the operating room staff and we can hear what they say so you feel like you are in the room,” Pohlmann said.
The surgical team removed two veins from the patient’s legs and grafted them to his heart to bypass veins that had hardened.
Pohlmann’s students are learning about the human heart and recently dissected a cow heart.
Student wrote an essay about how blood flows through the heart the day after they watched the surgery.
“I hope it helps them solidify what they are learning in class, also will help further discussion in class about the human heart and what they saw,” Pohlmann said.
The operating room team discussed what they were doing to the patient as they proceeded.
Each team member from the registered nurses and the surgeon to the anesthesiologist and the physician assistant also explained their jobs as they worked.
They talked about how much schooling is required for each role, why they like their job and how they got started in that field.
Hospital staff also passed around examples of equipment used in the surgery including a saw, the protective covering placed on patients and a pen-like tool used to cauterize veins.
PHSCC junior Alexis Fuqua said she didn’t realize how many people were in the operating room for one surgery.
“There are a lot of jobs to be done in order to save somebody’s life,” she said.