Anatomy Field Trip: Open Heart Surgery

Maggie Leone '17, Sports Editor

      In February, fifteen Oakland Catholic anatomy students embarked on a field trip to Allegheny General Hospital to watch an open heart surgery from the gallery.  From there, the students could look down and see the operating table, as well as the various people that are in the room during the procedure, such as the head surgeon, the residents, the physician’s assistant, the perfusionists (the people that run the heart and lung machine, also known as a cardiopulmonary bypass machine), the surgical technicians, and the anesthesiologists.  This was an incredible experience for these OC girls and they learned quite a bit about several aspects of the medical field.

      One of the perfusionists at Allegheny General happens to be Mrs. Devinney’s daughter-in-law, Kelsey.  She came to speak with the girls, explaining the responsibilities of perfusionists: they administer a drug that stops the heart so that the surgeon can work on a still heart.  The machine ensures that the rest of the body is still getting the necessary blood and oxygen without the heart pumping.

    After the surgery, the head surgeon Dr. Stephen Bailey came up to the gallery to take questions from the Oakland Catholic girls and tell them a little bit about himself.   He grew up in New Jersey and went to Williams College in Massachusetts, where he played soccer, then proceeded to go to Vanderbilt University in Nashville for a year after that. He continued on to Salt Lake City, Utah for a while, and then went to Columbia University to further his education and work experience.  He said that being a doctor isn’t about being the smartest person in the room. It’s about being smart enough to do your job well.  He continued on to say that the three most important things he has learned over the years are: be smart, work hard, and care.

Senior Kelsey Locante, who is interested in the medical field, found the experience fascinating.  She said that seeing this complicated procedure up close was especially interesting and that watching this surgery reaffirmed her interest in becoming a doctor. She said, ”My sophomore year is when I decided that I wanted to go into the medical field, but what I wanted to specialize in was a complete mystery. I tossed around a few different ideas, but being able to see what a surgeon does up close really reaffirmed my interest in the surgery field. I actually decided to shadow Dr. Bailey to get a real feel for the field after the experience. Being a senior and knowing 100% what you want to do is rare, and I only have this opportunity to attribute to that.”

    The trip was very enlightening and was a wonderful opportunity for these Oakland Catholic students to experience.  Allegheny General’s kindness in letting them observe has been quite a treat over the years and is greatly appreciated.