Emily Yu- TAP MD Student

Emily Yu – TAP MD Student

Emily Yu, a junior at Mason High School, is a recent addition to our TAP MD program!

TAP MD and TAP HC are programs designed to help high school students “tap” into their potential to fulfill a career as a physician or in the healthcare field. Students will experience events that provide information on types of medical specialties, how to apply for medical school and what different healthcare paths are available – from IT to home health – to physical therapy.

Click here to learn more about our TAP HEALTH initiative. Read below for Emily’s first experience with TAP MD.  

“On President’s Day, TAP MD and TAP HC students got to watch a living donor surgery for a kidney. We watched in the surgical amphitheater as Dr. Tayyab Diwan (UC Health), the physician champion of TAP MD, narrated the surgery and answered questions as his partner Dr. Cutler Quillin (UC Health) performed the surgery.

Prior to the surgery, we had the chance to ask Dr. Diwan about being a doctor. He described his typical week which consists of surgery, work in the clinic, administration, leading the fellowship program, etc. One of the things I hadn’t thought about before was how physicians discuss who should get the organ. There are many factors involved like the health of the patient, compatibility, age, etc. It’s not the first thought that comes to mind when you think about medicine, but these discussions occur because organ donations are rare compared to the need for them.

Before this experience, I already had witnessed surgeries through a program at my school. I was fortunate enough to be in the OR for another surgery located in the abdomen: a gastric sleeve and hiatal hernia repair. In both operations, they were done laparoscopically (minimally invasive). The stomach was blown up with carbon dioxide and incisions were cut for trocars which instruments are inserted into. Something that was different from the operation I had seen was a GelPort. A GelPort is similar to a trocar but allows the surgeon to insert their hand inside the patient’s body. I found this to be an interesting, new experience.

As for the surgery itself, we first watched Dr. Quillin cut through the many adhesions of the body to reach the left kidney. He first cut to move the colon from the stomach since the kidneys are behind those. One question brought up was if kidney surgery could be done posteriorly (patient facing down). Dr. Diwan said this was possible, but the view from the back contains fewer “landmarks.” Like the landmarks of a city, the landmarks of the body as he explained, help the surgeon locate other places. If you were to do that kidney surgery, all you would see would be the retroperitoneal fat unlike the noticeable organs like the stomach. Since the back lacks other organs for protection, the kidneys are surrounded by fat. For this reason, kidney punches in boxing are illegal since they can cause renal failure!

One of the landmarks Dr. Quillin looked for was the ureter, which passes urine to the bladder. To differentiate it from a blood vessel, he looked for vermiculation: worm-like motion as urine passes. Relying on other landmarks, Dr. Quillin was able to successfully either clip and cut or staple blood vessels and ureter. The kidney would be eventually be removed and placed in ice while waiting for the transplant.

Overall, I found this experience to be very educational and eye-opening. I enjoyed being able to ask a surgeon the whats, whys, and hows. It also demonstrated the amount of experience doctors have before treating patients with their practiced movements, ability to make quick decisions, and focus while holding the patients’ lives in their hands.”

Thank you for sharing your experience Emily! Keep up with Emily and all the TAP HEALTH students by clicking here