SynDaver™ Surgery Surprises

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In science teacher Ms. Anjel Guitroz’s  classroom, junior and seniors had two surprises today. Instead of reviewing upcoming exams in the human anatomy class, their teacher instructed them to put on surgical gloves, masks and caps. A “patient” needed emergency surgery and they were going to learn how to do a surgeon’s knot and a running loop stitch. The patient was the SynDaver™ Surgical Model. As they gathered around the patient, Ms. Guitroz reminded them, “You have to be comfortable with the orientation of the needle.”

Students were improving with practice when two visitors arrived. Seminarians Jeff Merritt and Dr. Davis Ahimbisibwe had heard about the SynDaver and wanted to see its use in a classroom setting. Merritt was in his second year of medical school at Tulane University before transferring to Notre Dame Seminary. Dr. Davis was a physician in Uganda, but also had a calling. 

Recounting some of the cases he handled in his medical practice, Dr. Ahimbisibwe shared, “I have seen the hand of God so much in my practice, that I would always advise my patients to pray.” He and Merritt shared that communication is critical in medicine and priesthood. Merritt noted that listening and observing go hand-in-hand. “We had a medical treatment card that we gave to our patients,” shared Dr. Ahimbisibwe. “It read – We Treat, But God Heals.”

The SynDaver made its debut in 2015 at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, making it the first high school in the United States to have one. Used in Human Anatomy classes, it is a 3D jigsaw body puzzle with every muscle, bone, vascular component and organs removable and replaceable. Guitroz received suture training from George B. Morris IV, MD, Chairman of OB/GYN at Ochsner Baptist.