Anne Arundel Medical Center surgery streams live at five county schools

Rachael Pacella
Contact Reporterrpacella@capgaznews.com

In seventh grade, JaNya Brown of Severn knew she wanted to work in the field of forensics.

Before entering ninth grade at Glen Burnie High School, she got the chance to visit the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.

And Tuesday, the sophomore got a look inside a living person as Dr. Adrian Park of Anne Arundel Medical Center used laparoscopic surgery — technically, Nissen fundoplication — to treat a woman with a hiatal hernia.

The surgery was live streamed to Brown’s school and four others throughout Anne Arundel County. A total of 500 students got to watch. Live streaming a surgery isn’t new, but this is the first time the hospital has done it on this large a scale, Park said.

At Glen Burnie, the operating room was displayed on a screen in the school’s auditorium. Not only could students see the OR, they also got a better-than-a-surgeon’s eye view through a laparoscopic camera that put the patient’s insides on screen.

A hiatal hernia occurs when a person’s stomach “migrates” to their chest, Park explained. So, the first thing Park did once the surgery commenced was to pull the woman’s stomach back down where it should be.

That view wasn’t for the squeamish — but the students came prepared.

As he operated Park answered questioned posed by students, with a warning he would politely ignore a question if he felt he needed his full focus on the surgery.

He explained what he was doing throughout, and also posed his own questions to the students, quizzing them on what they might be seeing inside the body. He asked what one structure was, and one student gave the correct answer, “heart.” The auditorium filled with cheers.

One student said he was impressed by Park’s calm demeanor.

At one point Park was cutting through flesh and wanted to show the students the scale he was working on. He showed them the surgical instrument — ligature dissector — he was using inside the woman’s body, which took up the majority of the field of view of the camera and then changed shots to show the coin-sized instrument next to his own body.

Students such as Brown who are in the county’s BioMedical Allied Health Program at Glen Burnie High already have a good understanding of medical terminology, Brown said. Park did a good job of sticking to more basic terms to ensure everyone was understanding what he was doing, Brown said.

And Park said the students’ questions showed some grasp of the material.

“By some grasp, I mean like a good medical student level grasp of material,” Park said.

Inviting learners into the “inner sanctum” of an operating room has to be done with respect, Park said, and the students’ questions and attention honored that commitment, he said.

The students listening in the audience at Glen Burnie High were in ninth and 10th grade, and for a reason — one of the goals of the event was to encourage more young people to pursue careers and physicians or surgeons, department chairwoman Krystal Gulden said.

In 2016, the Association of American Medical Colleges forecast by 2025 there will be a shortfall of between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians.

Senior Jess Bradley of Crownsville helped facilitate and lead the live stream video at the school Tuesday. She said more physicians are needed to help address the country’s increasing elderly population.

“I’m hoping to reach out to them now and open up these doors for them now, and expose them to these opportunities so they’ll pursue these careers,” Bradley said.

Bradley is one of 16 students on Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Council of Advanced Student Learners. That program is a partnership between county schools and the medical center’s James and Syvila Earl Simulation to Advance Innovation and Learning Center. AAMC spokesman Arminta Plater said as Bradley helped facilitate the video Glen Burnie High, other members facilitated the streams at their respective schools.

Bradley said she is the first student from Glen Burnie to serve on the council, and she hopes the session will pave the way for other students.

“We know what we’re talking about. We’ve learned this stuff with our BMAH classes,” Bradley said.

And the patient? She was already up and walking Tuesday afternoon, Park said.

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