On Tuesday 5th July, a range of BDA students from Year 7 to the Sixth Form had the pleasure of taking part in a live dissection of multiple parts of a pig, arranged by a group called Operating Theatre Live. Pigs’ organs were used for the ‘surgery’ as they are the closest to human organs in terms of size and structure. The event is aimed at helping aspiring medics get an idea of what surgery is like and what a career in such a field is like. We worked in teams and got to wear scrubs, stethoscopes, and surgical hats, gloves and masks.

The highlight of the day was doing the heart surgeries, one of them being angioplasty which is a surgery done to cure angina. The treatment required us to cut open the aorta and insert a stent into the artery that was blocked because of fat. Doing the surgery was quite easy but it was shocking to find out that the price for each angioplasty that is carried out on the NHS is £4000.

The gastrointestinal part of the theatre was also very interesting, especially the smell. There was a whole process of digestion that could be felt which was, in a sense, unique (but so was the smell!). What struck us was the sheer size of the gastrointestinal section of the body. We wondered how all those tubes and different parts fit into our abdomens!

Finally, it was interesting to learn about how Motor Neurone Disease was caused. Prior to the Operating Theatre Live experience I did not know about the concept of the myelin sheath, a fatty layer which wraps around the nerves and which is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Damage to the myelin sheath can lead to Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease. We've all studied nerves although we've never been taught about such a disease or its precise causes. 

Operating Theatre Live was a fantastic experience and a day that will live long in our memories. It has also strengthened our resolve to apply to Medical School and become doctors.

By Honey Thein, Amira Salihu, Gonjan Kaur and Hajar Gumaa (Year 11)