There was no chance Dr. Eric Arp could save his patient's life Thursday morning when he began a surgery watched by more than 100 people. That's because Arp was demonstrating surgical techniques on the foot from a cadaver at Arkansas State University Mountain Home for students from across the Twin lakes Area.
Arp is a mentor at Mountain Home High School for students in the Health and Human Services Academy.
"When they were sophomores, I did a cadaver at my office for that class," Arp said. "I told them I would do something big for them for their senior year and this is what we came up with."
Dr. Eric Arp, center, demonstrates surgical techniques Thursday for area students at Arkansas State University Mountain Home. Arp was assisted by his son Jack Arp, left, and MidSouth Orthopedics sales manager Morgan Bailey left. (Photo: Josh Dooley/The Baxter Bulletin)
First, students gathered in the Vada Sheid Community Development Center to watch on a big screen as Arp "operated" on the cadaver foot, explaining the procedures as he went, with assistance from his son, Jack Arp, and Morgan Bailey, a sales manager for MidSouth Orthopedics.
Once he demonstrated several techniques for the students, they were broken up into groups and were led to various stations for a closer look at the instruments Arp uses at one station, two stations with cadaver feet where students were allowed to try various surgical skills, a station to check dexterity and a station where medical professionals from Baxter Regional Medical Center discussed other medical career options.
Students from Mountain Home, Norfork, Cotter, Flippin, and Yellville attended the event as did ASUMH students.
Also in attendance were students from Mountain Home Christian Academy, with their seventh-grade science teacher Vanessa Peglar. "We were really grateful someone thought to call and invite us to attend this event. It seems many people are just discovering us," Peglar said. "We have just been studying the muscles and human anatomy, so this couldn't have come at a better time. I know there's nothing better than seeing it in person to bring the textbook material to life."
Peglar says she has several students who are interested in becoming veterinarians and members of various medical professions.
"I also have students who are not interested in the medical profession," said Peglar. "I say until you, you've seen it, you've tried it, you know what it's like, you can't really make an educated decision."
One of Peglar's students who attended the event was the seventh grader Madison Anderson. Anderson said she was not squeamish about the event and found it beneficial.
"I thought it was a very interesting educational experience and it was a once in a lifetime thing that not many people get to do, It's something I wish I could get to do more than once," Anderson said. "I used to be squeamish, but I grew out of it. I came to realize it's God's creation so it's something good to learn about."
Anderson's favorite part of the day was getting to watch Arp up close as he demonstrated surgical techniques.
"I'm more of a visual learner rather than just doing things on paper," the student said. "It's a better learning experience and you really get to see the structures."
Anderson's classmate Stone Robinson had a bit different reaction.
"I'm a hunter so I've skinned things before, but this is different. I was a little...apprehensive let says," Robinson said. "I got over that after the first like minute-and-a-half."
Once past his apprehension, Robinson said the event was useful for his education.
"I liked the box where you moved the rubber band," Robinson said. "I like tinkering with things, so that was interesting."
Once the event was done, Arp, owner of Arp Foot & Ankle Clinic, talked about his thoughts on the event.
"I was very impressed with the students today. They were all out of their comfort zones but none of them stayed back from the table," Arp said. "They were interested and they were engaged. It's good to pass on knowledge to future generations. I would recommend this type of event for all sorts of professionals because it is good to pass on the knowledge you have."
It's knowledge Peglar is grateful her students received.
"We are incredibly grateful we were invited to attend today. It's just a great thing for the students to get to see," Peglar said. "Anybody out there who is putting on events like this for students, I hope they'll be kind enough to invite out Mountain Home Christian Academy students. We have smart, polite, engaged students who are eager to learn."