By DENISE DICK
Ursuline High School anatomy students got a front row seat to surgery Wednesday, watching a hip replacement at Columbus’s Mount Carmel East Hospital in the school’s distance learning lab.
The window into the operating room was facilitated through the Center of Science and Industry, or COSI, in Columbus.
Dr. Bryan Chambers, an orthopedic surgeon, narrated every step of the procedure, explaining what he was doing and why and allowing students to ask questions. Other schools also tuned in to the surgery.
The patient was a 40-year-old man who suffered from developmental problems with his hips.
“It’s a worn out joint that we’re going to be replacing,” Dr. Chambers said.
The students watched as he sliced through the skin, fat and muscle to get to the bone. The surgeon used a cauterizing tool to minimize the amount of blood.
Still, some were squeamish.
The mouth of Chris Durkin, one of the seniors in Gordon Hartranft’s class, dropped open and he winced as he watched the procedure. When the doctor dislocated the patient’s hip as part of the operation, he covered his ears. Several of his classmates covered their eyes or looked away.
Not Gabrielle Villaplana, who was enthralled.
“It’s awesome,” she said.
Gabrielle is considering a career in the medical field. Her father is a doctor and her sister is a nurse.
“I’ve always been interested in the medical field,” she said.
COSI sent information to the classes before the surgery, introducing the surgical team, displaying the instruments that would be used and the parts of the body involved.
This is this first year for the distance learning lab at Ursuline and it’s set up in a room that at one time housed a typing class and changed to a computer lab before its latest evolution.
Two donors contributed the roughly $20,000 to $25,000 equipment and installation costs.
While the senior anatomy class has watched hip replacement, a kidney transplant and other surgeries, the lab isn’t just for science classes.
“It really fits across our curriculum,” said Maggie Matune, director of media and information technology.
Principal Patricia Fleming, who teaches honors religion at the school, used the lab while her class was learning about Hinduism and Buddhism to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The docent tailored the tour to the course, showing artifacts from Hindu and Buddhist cultures.
Matune said another class will learn more about the Cuban Missile Crisis through a visit to the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian Museums and Metropolitan Museum of Art also have programs that Ursuline can tap into for its distance learning lab.
Next year, the school plans visits to classrooms in other countries for foreign language classes, allowing students to speak with native speakers of those languages.
Fleming said the lab affords students an opportunity to learn they wouldn’t have any other way.
Frequent field trips can be intrusive and present a financial burden and visits to places like the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and the Met in New York City are impossible, she said.
“Where else could you get all of that,” the principal said.