Witnessing Open-Heart Surgery at the INOVA Heart and Vascular Institute

Witnessing Open-Heart Surgery at the INOVA Heart and Vascular Institute

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Jacob Sokol
July 01, 2013

Four interns from TWC's Science, Technology, and Society Program witnessed open-heart surgery at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute at Inova Fairfax Hospital, located in Falls Church, Virginia. Dr. Hassan Tetteh, thoracic surgeon and 1993 TWC alumnus, hosted the students on the morning of June 25th.


Dr. Tetteh is a professional cardiovascular disease specialist and surgeon equipped with expertise in heart failure, heart and lung transplantation and who is compassionate about health care delivery. As a servant leader, he solves problems with a global perspective in administration, public policy, and social entrepreneurship. He is also currently a visiting scholar at the Congressional Budget Office.


Pre-Surgery Preparation


The day's event consisted of a brief tour of the facility and orientation with a short didactic on heart disease. Before stepping into the observation room, a registered nurse went through the entire surgical process, from each person’s role in the room to the function of the cardiopulmonary bypass machine. This was followed by an opportunity to witness a live operation from the Heart Institute's "Dome" which provides a bird's eye view of open-heart operations.


Seeing is Believing


Dr. Tetteh accompanied the group into the “Dome” where the first view was of a patient on the table while multiple doctors and nurses moved around the operation floor. Despite all the commotion, the surgical team calmly worked as one cohesive unit, conducting a quadruple bypass over the span of five hours.


From the first incision until the last stitch, the group learned about the intricate details of the procedure. Shannon Theobald, TWC participant and student from Columbia College in South Carolina said, “As an aspiring OB/GYN currently applying to medical school, I was particularly excited about this opportunity. While I have watched many surgeries online or on film, the reality of first-hand direct observation was exhilarating.”


A Special Thanks


TWC would like to thank Dr. Tetteh for hosting summer 2013 interns at INOVA. The event was certainly the first of its kind and an unforgettable experience for everyone who attended.


[View photos of the event on our Flickr channel]

[Read more about our Science, Technology & Society Program]

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