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Evan Nordstrom, Fremont Tribune

WHS Science Teacher Steve Shannon helps guide students while they watched a live video of an open heart surgery Wednesday morning.Wahoo was one of three schools that participated in the "Live ... from the Heart" event on Wednesday, April 4.

Wahoo Students Witness Heart Surgery

WHS Anatomy Students Participate in Live Videoconference

As an aspiring cardiovascular surgeon, Ashley Brandt has done a lot of research on heart surgeries.

The Wahoo High School sophomore, though, still came away from Wednesday’s “Live ... from the Heart” event with a greater insight into the medical profession.

“I’m surprised about how much their surgical team is relied on,” Brandt said. “... It’s not just the surgeon; it’s the whole team. That’s kind of interesting to me because I always thought the surgeon was the main guy.”

Brandt was one of nearly 30 anatomy students at Wahoo who got the chance to watch a live open-heart surgery being performed at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Illinois via videoconferencing. Laurel-Concord and a high school in Denton, Texas, also participated in the videoconference.

Students watched as a 78-year-old woman had valve replacement surgery and also was treated for an aortic aneurysm.

The students also had the chance to ask questions of the surgeon, as well as an anesthesiologist, physician’s assistant and others while the surgery was being performed.

“I guess I’m kind of a person that always wants to ask questions, so seeing something like this — something that I’m not familiar with — really sparks my interest a lot,” Wahoo senior Ben Brabec said.

Although he wants to be a meteorologist, Brabec still enjoyed the peek into the operating room.

“It’s really cool, actually,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to see a surgery — not like the fake ones you see on TV, but a real one.”

Teacher Steve Shannon talked to the students throughout the surgery to explain what they were seeing and help answer some of their questions.

“They may know somebody who went to surgery and an hour later came out, but they didn’t really know what happened,” Shannon said. “Now, to be able to see something like this, if a family member has something like this they have firsthand knowledge of what they went through.”

Shannon also thinks the videoconference could spark an interest in some of his students to pursue a medical career.

“I hope it drives some of them to want to do something in that field and challenge themselves,” he said.

Brandt was appreciative that Shannon gave his students the opportunity to participate in “Live ... from the Heart.”

“He’s always trying to provide for the students to get the most out of learning,” she said. “He’s a great instructor.”

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Wahoo Students Witness Heart Surgery

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