Students from five central Iowa high schools will witness an open-heart surgery in real-time during a live video-conference this week from a Chicago hospital. The Science Center of Iowa is hosting the Thursday event in Des Moines and spokeswoman Sally Dix says it’ll be an eye-opener for the teens as they watch the low-risk coronary artery bypass graft surgery on the big screen with surround sound.
Dix says there will be 160 students in the Science Center theatre which is wired for the teleconference to watch the surgery live. She says they’ll also be able to interact with the surgeons, doctors and others in the operating room and ask questions about careers in medicine during the two-and-a-half hour event. At the outset, it might sound like the kids would be a distraction to the doctors during such a delicate and complicated procedure, but Dix assures, that won’t be the case.
She says: "These doctors are truly the top in their field and they would never put the patient in jeopardy. In fact, there are provisions in place should things happen that require the doctors’ attention. There are other people standing by who can address questions. The timing of when the questions are asked is very well-controlled and obviously, the patient’s health and well being comes first."
Dix explains some of the goals of the unusual event. She says it’s the Science Center’s goal to engage and inspire students so they might be able to walk away, excited and interested in medicine and science. Dix says she hopes to hear students proclaiming,"’I want to be a heart doctor.’ We want this to be an opportunity for them to say, ‘I love this and this is where I want to go and now I have a clearer sense of my path to get there.’"
Dix admits, other students may be turned off by the surgery and will decide once-and-for-all, a career in medicine isn’t for them. The 160 high school students are from: Lincoln, Hoover and Roosevelt in Des Moines, West Des Moines Valley and Norwalk.