Students from the anatomy class had an amazing opportunity to observe an open-heart surgery at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute. Before entering an area called the dome, a special viewing platform above the operating room, students took a quiz to test their knowledge of heart disease, health effects, and risk factors. A cardiac nurse educator then briefed them on the patient’s status and explained the kind of symptoms the patient experienced, the patient’s genetic history for heart disease, and any patient risk factors. She also explained the bypass surgery the patient was to undergo. Students paused to pray for both the patient and surgeon.
Once in the dome, a nurse provided explanations throughout the three-hour surgery. She explained the roles of each person in the operating room role and shared the kind of education and training personnel needed to undergo to do that job. The attending surgeon wore a camera and the close-up views were displayed on four large screens positioned throughout the room.
Every small detail of the surgery--from the removal of the saphenous vein from the patient’s leg, the opening and preparation of the chest cavity, the flow of blood out of the patient’s heart, to the stopping and starting of the heart--was amazing to witness.
After the surgery, the surgeon met with the students. She answered questions and encouraged them to pursue their dreams and not to give up. The students finished with prayer asking God to give the patient a speedy recovery.
One student said viewing the surgery was the highlight of her year.