RHINELANDER - You can watch fake doctors perform fake surgeries on TV almost any night of the week. It's not every day you get to watch an actually surgery performed.
Students from the Northwoods learned their experience Wednesday was not for the faint of heart.
High school and college students filled the Nicolet College Theater in Rhinelander to watch a live stream of an open heart surgery. Doctors, nurses, and other surgical staff from a hospital in Illinois were on camera and answered questions as they put in a left ventricular assistive device in a 37-year-old man's heart.
Nicolet College Health Occupation Dean Dr. Lenore Blemke says students were pretty much in awe.
"If they think they wouldn't like nursing, after seeing this they'll really know that they won't like those types of occupations," Blemke said. "But I think they also have a different respect for what technology and research have done for our society."
Dr. Blemke says the patient was high risk, meaning he likely wouldn't survive another year without this procedure. Blemke helped organize the event, hoping to show all students how impressive these procedures are, whether they want to get into medicine or not.
"It's just an incredible opportunity for them to see, not only, what happens when you have a health alteration and what we can do about it, but how the whole team is working together," Blemke said.
Lakeland Union High School senior Luke Bodewes hopes to carry what he learned Thursday into his medical terminology class.
"When you actually have to see it in real life practice with a bunch of blood and, you know, fat cells and all this other stuff, it's a lot more complicated. It makes you want to learn more about it and really know your stuff," Bodewes said.
This is the second time Nicolet has hosted a live stream surgery. Dr. Blemke says a few decades ago this implant procedure would never have been possible.
Students came from Rhinelander, Elcho, Wabeno, Northland Pines, and Lakeland Union High Schools.