Source: The News-Enterprise
About 20 fifth-grade students from St. James Catholic School, Heartland and Morningside Elementary schools laughed with and at one another Friday inside an auditorium on the fifth floor of the hospital as they “scrubbed in.”
While donning a cleanroom suit, or bunny suit, which is an overall garment worn in a cleanroom, an environment with a controlled level of contamination, the students left the auditorium for a tour of an operating suite and a demonstration of the da Vinci robot – high-tech equipment that helps surgeons perform complex and delicate procedures.
Once they were all gathered in the surgical suite, the students were able to see the precision and advancement of the technology first-hand and were given the opportunity to try operating the equipment themselves.
RN and Certified Surgical Assistant Justin Brown said the instrument, which magnifies the surgical work zone, allows the doctors to see what they are working on in fine detail. For example, he asked how many of the students knew there was a spider located on a $1 bill.
“One hundred percent true,” he said as he zoomed the device’s cameras, which are 3-D, in on the money. A couple of the students could be heard murmuring, “Oh, my gosh.”
Brown then zoomed in on the back of a penny, which features the Lincoln Memorial, to show the students an image of Abraham Lincoln also appears there.
“When we are doing surgery, we can see extreme detail,” Brown said. “Because of the magnification, it augments how well you can see and it augments how fine you can move your arms.”
He said using the robot allows for a small surgical incision and a lower infection rate. It also accounts for any jitters from the surgeon.
“If you have the ability to do a procedure with a smaller incision, less pain, less infection rate and better results, it just makes sense to do it,” Brown said. “We have the technology here and we have a team that has been doing it for over 10 years. We have the expertise, we have the technology and we have the results. Why wouldn’t you?”
Rita Pardee, assistant vice president of surgical services at the hospital, said urology, general surgery and gynecology are the primary services for robotic surgery right now.
“The advantages to the patient are faster healing time, less pain and they get back to doing their normal functions sooner,” she said. HMH began robotic surgery in 2010.
Jacob Norton, a fifth-grader at St. James, said he enjoyed seeing the da Vinci robot and the different aspects of medical technology.
“I like how people are coming up with new ways to help people have less pain and a faster recovery,” he said.
The students, as part of Student Technology Leadership Day at Hardin Memorial Hospital, also had the opportunity to see the hospital’s helipad, an emergency transport helicopter, a preserved human heart, the inside of an ambulance and visited the radiology department. The day occurred during National Robotics Week, a Congressional initiative to encourage students to explore career fields relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Norton wants to be a neurosurgeon when he grows up. He said he was inspired by his older sister, who recently became a nurse.
“It just kind of seems like a cool career,” he said, adding he wants to help others.
Kevin Tse, a Morningside Elementary School fifth-grader, said his favorite part of the day was seeing a human heart. Some students said they felt queasy when seeing the organ, while others decided not to enter the room with it.