PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It wasn’t a typical school day for several students from Penn Trafford Middle School.

They took a field trip to watch local doctors perform open heart surgery. It’s all part of a special education program going on at Allegheny General Hospital.

Twelve students had the chance to watch the surgeons operate as part of the Open Heart Surgery Observation Program.

“I thought there was going to be a lot more blood and everything, but I figured out that they seal off the blood vessels,” said one of the students.

Three days a week, classes from area schools and colleges come in for an eye-opening experience.

Today’s patient, in his 60s, had a heart attack three days ago. His heart wasn’t working well enough to get oxygen into his blood; instead, that was being done by a machine outside of his body.

The objective of the operation the students watched today was to implant a device to take over the pumping function of his heart.

The patients who are taken to the OR with the observation deck sign a consent form.

“I thought it would just be like one or two doctors and a few nurses, but no, it’s like 10 to 12 people,” said one student.

“I hope he gets well,” added another.

Allegheny General Hospital
Penn Trafford School District
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