NEW CASTLE —
Someday, Rachael Baker aspires to enter the medical field, possibly as a physician’s assistant.
So, the Laurel High School junior was enthused to be part of a small group that observed an aortic valve replacement at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Students from the gifted programs at Laurel and Lincoln high schools participated in the unique opportunity — the Open-Heart Surgery Observation program of the Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute at the hospital.
The procedure was done on a man in his 60s.
“To see how the heart was stopped and then started again, and know that person is still alive was just amazing,” Lincoln senior Alexxa Houk said.
The students were accompanied by their advisers, Toni Schooley, gifted coordinator at Laurel, and Jonica Walters, gifted coordinator at Lincoln. They observed the operation from an observation deck overlooking the surgical suite. During the surgery, a staff person from the Cardiovascular Institute explained what was happening in the operating room.
“The students were so focused as to what was going on,” Schooley said.
“Someone’s life is in the hands of these doctors,” Baker noted. “I wouldn’t be averse to working in an OR. I left with a whole new perspective. To see diagrams and pictures of the heart is one thing, but we saw a chest opened up.”
Nearly 2,000 students from school districts throughout the tri-state area have participated in the open-heart surgery observation program since its inception in 2008, and many credit it with guiding them toward careers in health care.
Houk is considering the study of biochemistry and even medical school following college.
While still uncertain about her exact career path, after watching the open heart procedure she said that she is more confident that, “I could handle the whole OR scenario.
“It was more than just the surgeon and anesthesiologist. It took an integral teamwork comprised of 10 to 15 people to do that procedure.”
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Marlon Tanner, a Laurel junior.
“I like to observe different jobs so it may help determine what I want to do,” Tanner explained. “I have great admiration for the surgeons for what they have to go through. If anybody gets a chance, they should see it for themselves.”
For Schooley, the experience was one she could relate to. Her husband underwent triple bypass surgery, and when she returned from observing the procedure at Allegheny, she had a better understanding of what takes place during these types of operations.
“I had to tell him how much I appreciate him,” she said. “It was very emotional.”
(Have you signed up for our free text alerts yet? Get daily weather, breaking news, Friday Night football scores and school news sent right to your phone! It’s awesome ... and it’s free! CLICK HERE.)
NEW CASTLE —
- Local News
Arthur the author: Children’s writer/illustrator visits Neshannock Elementary
A story about a grandmother and her granddaughter flying over a city grew from the vivid imagination of children’s author Arthur Dorros. “Abuela” also spurred the creativity of students at Neshannock Memorial Elementary School who had eagerly awaited a visit from Dorros yesterday.
Greer House changes name
Greer House, a provider of assisted living services and care to seniors, has unveiled its new name. “We are thrilled about our new name — Clen-Moore Place,” said executive director Susan Leise, “because it better reflects our commitment to provide a vibrant environment where our residents thrive each and every day.
Greg Huston: Pirates pitching is porous and LeBron’s a phony
The Buccos got swept this past weekend in their own personal house of horrors, otherwise known as Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Pirates will hover around .500 this year mainly because they do have some stars in Marte, McCutchen and Alvarez, and they play the right way with grit.
Photo Gallery, Story: Students team up on paper pantry
Food is not the only thing that sometimes is in short supply for those in need. With that in mind, students from seven Lawrence County high schools joined Westminster College sororities and fraternities Saturday in preparing a paper pantry for local residents.
Neshannock approves resignation, agreement, related legal fees
The Neshannock school board accepted the resignation of business manager and board secretary Melissa Morosky Thursday. Morosky’s resignation is effective Wednesday.
Solomon to head Warner advisers
The Historic Warner Cascade Theatre has named Nanette Kaplan Solomon chairwoman of the board of advisers. Solomon is a New Castle resident and professor of piano at Slippery Rock University.
Consultant hired for downtown riverwalk
The city of New Castle has hired a consultant to plan a pedestrian riverwalk in the downtown. Council awarded a contract for $30,000 to Macking Engineering Co. of Pittsburgh on Thursday.
New Visions slates downtown meetings
The New Visions Clean and Green Action Team will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Confluence downtown. The Earth Day event in downtown New Castle April 26 will be discussed.
County seeks grant to plan for park upgrades
A plan for upgrading six parks in Lawrence County hinges on a state grant. The commissioners Tuesday approved an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for matching greenways funds to create master plans for the parks, a venture estimated to cost $239,600.
Mooney named as recipient of Butz Humanitarian award
Anna Mary Mooney, a volunteer for several community organizations, will receive the 2014 Butz Humanitarian Award. Mooney will be honored at a dinner April 22 at The Villa in Shenango Township. She is the 15th person to receive the award, named after the original recipient, Jack Butz.
- More Local News Headlines
- Arthur the author: Children’s writer/illustrator visits Neshannock Elementary