High-schoolers get up-close look at medical training
June 13, 2011
United Township graduate Semi Ajibola prepped the defibrillator paddles for a distressed mannequin while fellow graduate Kaylynn Barker continued to press on the victim's sternum area.
Meanwhile, in another room at the Trinity College of Nursing and Health Sciences in Rock Island, a breathing mannequin, courtesy of a nearby air compressor, was surrounded by students armed with stethoscopes, including fellow United Township graduate Jessica Ogden, of Carbon Cliff.
Simulated scenarios played out for these students throughout the weekend. They were among 35 chosen from Quad-Cities' Illinois high schools to participate in a free mini-medical school.
Students dissected pig hearts, learned about brains, eyes and internal medicine from physicians. The mini medical school was offered as part of an overall math and science initiative funded by physicians from Cardiovascular Medicine P.C. in Illinois through the Trinity Health Foundation.
Students were selected to participate based on GPA, aptitude in core math and science courses and personal interviews.
Many of the students will go on to college, possibly in the medical field, according to Dr. Sanjeev Puri, M.D., a cardiologist with Cardiovascular Medicine P.C. — Illinois. Dr. Puri was one of the instructors for the weekend program.
He said physicians volunteered their time and donated their money to make it work. The weekend tutorial would have cost roughly $100,000 with all the equipment and classroom time, he said. Mannequins are also extremely expensive.
Dr. Puri hopes to put together a mentoring program for future students who want to go into the medical field someday.
"The goal is to involve professionals with the children in our community," Dr. Puri said. "We (physicians) thought, 'Why not do something locally?'
"It will be free, and it is a community contribution."
Students received hands on and classroom experience. The pig hearts, for instance, came from a pig farm in Minnesota, Dr. Puri said.
"They (hearts) were sent special by FedEx courier," Dr. Puri said. "They have to be frozen. Some of the heart valves we put in human beings come from a pig."
Students absorbed lectures on the brain from Dr. Vasan Purighalla, a neurosurgeon with the Purighalla Neuroscience and Spine Institute. Dr. Purighalla said he was inspired in medical school by one of his professors.
Following that example, he wanted to help area students who may follow in his footsteps.
"I said, 'I'm going to be a neurosurgeon someday,'" Dr. Purighalla said. "Initially, you get attracted by these little things. The dean in my third year of medical school was one of the most charismatic persons I came across in my life.
"He was thin and tall and serious looking. I admired him."
Down the hall from the doctors, the two students, Mr. Ajibola, of East Moline, and Ms. Barker, of Colona, continued working on the mannequin.
A loud beep came from the defibrillator machine followed by a computerized voice, "Analyzing heart rhythm. Do not touch the patient."
Barbara Minks, Trinity College of Nursing and Health Sciences instructor, advised the students, "step away from the patient."
The students stepped back, the defibrillator voice said flatly, "deliver shock now. Press the orange button now."
Mr. Ajibola placed the paddles on the rubber chest. Mission accomplished.
"Good job you guys," Ms. Minks said.
Across the hall, Ms. Ogden examined a bed-ridden mannequin with her stethoscope.
"Eww, he's gurgling," Ms. Ogden said after putting the listening device near the mannequin's abdomen.
Instructor Denise Maxwell nodded.
"Yep, that's the sound," Ms. Maxwell said. "We examine this (abdomen) to make sure everything is working okay. If it stops working, you could have a problem like a bowel obstruction.
"That can be miserable."
Other students listened to instructors as they taught in the roomful of mannequins of all sizes. Students learned about placing feeding tubes in mannequins along with IV catheters.
"There is no program like this anywhere in the country," Dr. Puri said proudly. "This is a very unique program with a community hospital doing this."
By Stephen Elliott
Source: Rock Island Argus/Dispatch