When Koh Ikeda’s ninth-grade health science class heads downtown for a field trip Wednesday, they won’t be visiting a museum to learn the secrets of ancient dentistry or touring a factory to learn how crutches are made.
Instead, the students from North Hollywood High School’s Highly Gifted Magnet will spend 90 minutes watching a live hip replacement as part of an innovative outreach program created by the Center for Arthritis and Joint Implant Surgery at USC University Hospital.
On Friday, nurse Jeri Ward visited the class to describe the procedure they will witness via a two-way television link with Dr. Lawrence D. Dorr in the operating room. Using replica bones and artificial joints, Ward demonstrated how the surgeon will remove a portion of a 70-year-old woman’s femur and replace it with a metal ball and shaft.
Although the students will be in another room, they will have the opportunity to ask questions during the procedure through a microphone hook-up.
“It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come up all that often,” Ward said after the hourlong presentation. “The kids are so interested. They ask intelligent questions and they really appreciate the whole experience.”
Arianna Haut, one of Ikeda’s students, recalled the “incredible pain” her 49-year-old father suffered before having both hips replaced. She said she’s considering a career in orthopedics and is avidly awaiting the hospital trip. “It’s pretty gory, but I like it,” she said. “It’s not disgusting, it’s fascinating.”