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High school sophomores watch live surgery at UK

Program is for students interested in health care careers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 2, 2014) High school sophomores interested in careers in health care participated in a summer camp at the University of Kentucky that allowed them to witness a live surgery of a feeding tube insertion procedure performed on a patient who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being involved in a car

The camp gave 26 campers part of the Area Health Educational Center‘s Summer Enrichment Program and about 75 additional guests a first look inside the operating room.

High schools sophomores watch a live surgery at UK.
High schools sophomores watch a live surgery at UK.

It was part of the Area Health Education Center Summer Enrichment program, which selected 26 students out of more than 200 applicants for the four-week camp, which includes scientific lectures, laboratory work, clinical observations, shadowing sessions and tours of health care facilities around the state. Others participating in the surgery broadcast included students from two regional AHEC summer camps, students from the Freshman Summer Program and a number of undergraduate students from UK and regional universities all interested in pursing a health profession.

Streaming a live surgery to flat-screen televisions in the multipurpose room at the UK College of Medicine, a aparoscopic camera gave a view inside the patient’s body and an additional overhead camera view of the surgical team, allowed students an internal and external view of the operation, while Dr. Joseph Iocono explained each procedure.

He discussed the preliminary measures of prepping and draping the patient to create a sterile field for surgery and the importance of monitoring vital signs throughout surgery. Once incisions were made and the laparoscopic camera inserted into the abdomen of the patient, Iocono identified internal organs in view and described the surgeon’s technique of attaching the stomach to the abdomen, and then inserting the feeding tube. He accepted questions from students throughout the 45-minute surgery, which ranged from “Does the patient’s age make surgery more difficult?” to “How did you learn to stitch?”

At the conclusion of the live surgery, Iocono addressed the students in-person and talked about his long road to becoming a surgeon and other opportunities to work in health care, noting that at least 25 different health care professions were represented in care of the patient they had observed that morning.

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