Students get close-up look as surgery is performed

Students get close-up look as surgery is performed »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - It's certainly not for the queasy.

On Wednesday, more than 100 local high school students got to sit in on a real-life operation.

Officials at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center want to get kids interested in medicine – the earlier, the better.

The surgery the students watched from a theater at the hospital would hopefully cure the patient of his neck pain and numbness in his arms.  The manager of the student outreach program told the 34-year-old patient he'd have 135 students rooting for him.

Canby High School’s McKayla Fricker was interested in the surgery, and possibly medicine, “to see what it's like and if I can take like the blood and all that.”

Century High School’s Andrew Matia said program administrators said students were told to look away for a couple of seconds during the surgery “and if that doesn't work then we should leave the room.”

Many of the students were chosen because they have a strong interest in the medical field. Hospital officials said it needs those kids - -with a large shortage of medical professionals expected in the next decade.

Most students said watching the surgery was no big deal, but they did experience things they had never seen before.

“Well, I've never seen the inside of somebody's neck before so … I mean that was pretty cool,” said Century High School’s Lauren Ulrich. “His hands have to be so steady he has to have so much skill in order to be able to do that.”

And they say they recognize the incredible teamwork and precision that comes with surgery. For parents like Bruce Swanson, the presentation helps make or break the prospect of big medical school bills.

“The expense for college is kind of frightening but the payoff would be very large,” Swanson said.