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Knee surgery livestreamed 'direct from the OR' for Calgary high school students


While many Calgary high school students are used to video learning, a livestream lesson took it to a whole new level by showing a total knee replacement surgery live from start to finish.

Dozens of students from Grade 8 and higher observed the procedure from an auditorium at Telus Spark on Tuesday morning,

Joan Bruch volunteered to go under the knife, on camera, for the educational benefit of the students.

"I think it would be a great learning experience. I didn't have that experience when I was in high school, so I think it would be an amazing learning tool," said Bruch, who is in her 70s, speaking with CTV News the night before her surgery.

The operating room at Rockyview Hospital is equipped with cameras to capture the procedure from multiple angles for a select, invite-only audience, which also included various health care students.

"It's one thing for students to watch a surgery online or on a YouTube video but it's quite another thing to interact with the surgical team," said Dr. Jason Werle, chief of the section of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Calgary.

Students directed questions to the surgeon, anesthesiologist and surgical nurse during the operation.

"(It's a great opportunity) to introduce students to the science of surgery, biomedical engineering, meeting nursing, as well as introducing students to health care careers," said Werle.


Telus Spark has hosted direct broadcasts of surgeries for high-schoolers several times a year since 2013.

"It's that amazing experience that they wouldn't get to see otherwise," said Jen Duffy, manager of youth programs at Telus Spark.

Many of the students say the experience has helped them think about life after high school.

"It was really cool. It felt very immersive and I loved how we got to ask live questions while they were doing it," said Hayden Leppert, a Grade 12 student at St. Francis High School.

"We got first-hand information from them about their job and what to do to get there," said Trey Soondarsingh, a Grade 12 student at All Saints High School.

Others say it has helped them weed out a potential career path.

"Now that I saw everything, I thought maybe this isn't for me. It's cool to watch, cool to learn, but I don't think I'd be able to handle it," said Taran Swinton, a classmate of Leppert's.

The surgery was completed on time without complications. Top Stories

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