On Saturday 7th March, the sports hall was transformed into a simulated operating theatre. It was a fantastic day with over 100 attendees from schools across the region.
Operating Theatre Live is a future healthcare programme aimed at any student considering a career in health, biosciences or any other discipline requiring a knowledge of anatomy and how the body works. It is an event which simulates a surgical environment, providing a deep insight into how the human body functions and offering the chance to dissect real specimens.
The day was broken down into 6 exciting clinics.
Clinic 1: Patient care and infection control
Students were presented with a dummy patient who presented with abdominal pain, transpiring to be appendicitis. Students carried out a full pre-surgical infection control procedure on the patient, using iodine-based microbials. Once completely sterile the patient was ready for surgery and gowned using surgical drapes. Students had to be particularly careful as to not cause any contamination, which would put the patient at risk of infection.
Clinic 2: Anaesthetics.
Students learnt the roles of the central and peripheral nervous system including how neurotransmitters GABA and Glutamate work to transmit action potentials across neurons. Students made up a solution of Propofol before calculating the correct dosage based on the mass of their dummy patient. Quantitative chemistry has come in handy!
Clinic 3: Communicating Human Anatomy
This clinic taught about the ‘anatomical position’ which is a fundamental system used in medicine and healthcare to navigate the structures of the human body, before diving into their surgery.
Clinic 4: Head and neck
Students covered the major anatomical structures of the central nervous system and were then presented with a real (pig) head specimen and were tasked with dissecting out the brain, spinal cord and eye, taking care to keep the optic nerve intact.
Clinic 5: Thoracic cavity
Since students administered general anaesthetic, which stops the nervous system working, the patient can no longer breathe independently. So students were tasked with intubating a real thorax with an intubation tube, establishing an airway for the patient to breathe with. They then inflated the lungs with air. Moving down to the heart now… students dissected a heart to examine the structures of the ventricles, atria and vessels.
Clinic 6: Abdominal-pelvic cavity
Students were incredibly lucky to see a complete digestive system specimen. Many healthcare professionals themselves have not seen one before, so the students were fortunate to have been provided with such a rare opportunity. They learnt about the pathologies that affect the gastro-intestinal tract such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The day ended with a full leg amputation! Dexterity was then put to the test when they were asked to stitch the leg back on again, Finally, the Operating Theatre Live team gave our students a rundown on the tough examination required to get into medical school, called the UCAT.
Here is what some of the students had to say of the experience -
David: “I have always thought about being a surgeon and today has solidified that dream for me. It was fascinating to be able to apply anatomical knowledge to a real-life specimen.”
Jennifer: “The end of the day was really useful for me because I was worrying about UCAT and now I feel like I’ve had a good start towards revising for the exam.”
Maia: “It was really interesting to learn about the pathology of different systems of the body, what can go wrong, and how doctors can help.”
A student from another school added: “I had a great time today. I made some new friends at other schools and got to amputate a whole leg!”