JERSEY CITY, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Education Foundation (BHEF), in partnership with Summit Medical Group (SMG), sponsored "Live From Surgery", an educational program where 91 Gov. Livingston students in the 9th grade traveled to Liberty Science Center (LSC) to observe a live surgery via video teleconference of a kidney transplant.
The students interacted with Dr. Stuart Geffner, organ transplant surgeon from St. Barnabas Hospital, with guided discussions through a LSC facilitator.
Dr. Geffner has helped build the St. Barnabas transplant program into one of the 10 largest kidney and pancreas transplant centers in the United States. He has achieved "firsts" in New Jersey regarding transplant surgery, including performing a transplant on the youngest pediatric patient in the state and performing New Jersey's first laparoscopic kidney donation surgery as stated in the Barnabas Health website.
Dr. Geffner provided the students a step-by-step walk-through of the donor and recipient surgeries. The students observed all angles of the kidney and watched the procedures involved with the dissection of the veins, arteries and ureter to isolate the donor's kidney and then the attachment of the transplanted kidney into the recipient.
Along with the step-by-step description of the transplant, Dr. Geffner talked of his personal journey of college, medical school, residency and his 19 years experience in the organ transplant specialty.
The participants considering a field in medicine were able to look inside the many careers of the surgical team and ask specific questions to the doctors.
The students saw directly how content they learned in class is being applied within the medical field to help save lives said Susan Rembetsy, Gov. Livingston Science Supervisor.
"I was interested in being a surgeon, I always thought I would be too queasy to perform it, but after seeing this, it makes me realize that it isn't that bad," said Michelle Cisneros.
Students that were hesitant of viewing the procedure, came out of the program, and are reconsidering their career options. "I never was interested in pursuing the field, but now I'm more open to it," said Killian Quinn.
"It was eye-opening on how they perform the surgery. I was surprised there wasn't more blood during the surgery," said Maddie Forrester. The total blood loss during the surgery was equivalent to one tablespoon according to Geffner.
Sample medical equipment was passed around throughout the program, giving the students a hands-on feel and visual of the equipment actually being used during the procedures.