Upper School students had a unique and exciting educational experience this week. In fact, it was so interesting that many students got permission to be excused from their regularly scheduled classes in order to sit in on this lesson.
The surgery was broadcast live on Tuesday morning to numerous schools including AACS. This was done through the SAIL Center, a world-class medical and surgical simulation and training facility located at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. The surgeon was Dr. Adrian Park, an AACS dad.
Seniors Alyssa Hall and Nigel Park coordinated this opportunity for our school as a result of a local hospital-run program they’ve been a part of called "CASL" (Committee of Advanced Student Leaders). CASL is a program that has been run by Anne Arundel Medical Center (in Annapolis) for several years now. Nigel Park explained, “In essence, it is an opportunity for high school students to get a more in-depth look into the world of medicine and all of the possible careers that relate to it.” Originally, the CASL program was limited to students from Anne Arundel County Public High Schools. This year is special because they allowed two students from AACS to take part. AACS is the very first private school to be a part of this program.
Tele-surgery is a live broadcast of a procedure taking place. It is used fairly often in the medical field and has become a tool for education. It was especially facilitated for a form of surgery referred to as laparoscopic surgery. This type of surgery puts small incisions in the abdomen (instead of one large cut down the stomach's middle line) which allow detailed instruments and a camera to go into the body. The surgery is then done by the surgeon while he/she watches a monitor with the live feed from the camera. This live feed can be sent to students all over the globe for learning purposes.
The surgery that AACS students watched on Tuesday morning was called a Nissen Fundoplication to treat a woman with hiatal hernia. Dr. Park wrapped the upper part of the stomach (fundus) around the lower part of the esophagus, in order to reinforce the constrictive power of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). This is done most often when, for various reason, the LES has lost its ability to open and close as it normally should and therefore makes the esophagus vulnerable to consistent acid reflux which can be quite harmful. It was fascinating to watch especially because Dr. Park talked to the students throughout the procedure. He also asked specific questions for students from each participating school to answer. They used a program called Zoom to watch and interact with the surgeon.
“We were very excited for this event because it is unlike anything that has ever been done at AACS” said Nigel Park. “It will open up students' eyes to the vast world of medicine and the interesting ways through which we can learn interactively about careers relating to science and technology.” The students who watched the surgery were very attentive and engaged through the entire procedure. A big AACS thank you goes out to Dr. Park, Alyssa Hall, and Nigel Park for a science lesson that our students will never forget.
Here's a link to a story about this tele-surgery in the Capital Gazette.