January 15, 2016
Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto School turned into an operating room today as students in Grades 4 to 8 performed virtual knee surgeries. Since many of the students have firsthand experience with medical procedures, this was a chance for them to turn the tables and learn what it’s like to be the surgeon instead of the patient.
Teacher Katie Doering, who chose this as the culminating activity of their skeletal and muscular systems unit, began by walking her students through the procedure using step-by-step photos from an actual knee surgery. Then the students “scrubbed up” and put on their surgical masks to ensure a sterile environment. The surgery itself was an interactive computer module which walked students through the procedure, testing their knowledge and allowing them to scrub, cut and suture along the way.
Post-operation, the young surgeons had a lively discussion about their experience.
“I really liked stapling the patient’s skin back together and testing out trial knee prosthetics,” said Brayden, a Grade 5 student. The students then debated the merits of stapling versus suturing surgical wounds, something several of them had experienced.
Jacob, a Grade 5 student, thought it was cool that surgeons write their initials on the knee they’ll be operating on before it begins to make sure the surgical staff prepare the correct knee. His classmates had fun coming up with funny things to write on their patients' knees.
Though they all enjoyed the activity, only Brayden can see himself being a real surgeon someday. Shivam, 11, thinks it would be too much pressure, while Aliviah, 10, has already dedicated her life to working with lions. But they all agreed that they’d love to perform more surgeries of the virtual variety. Brain, trauma and abdominal surgeries are on their agenda for this weekend.