Saturday, May 16, 2009

14 Year Old Tony Hansberry makes Medical History

By Shirley Hawkins; Our Weekly 

Jacksonville, Fla .-- Tony Hansberry II is just 14 years old, but the precocious student has the medical profession buzzing. Hansberry, who attends Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School in Jacksonville, Florida, the first magnet school for medicine in the country, has discovered a new way to suture patients undergoing hysterectomies.

Challenged to improve a procedure called the endo stitch used in hysterectomies that could not be clamped down properly to close the tube where the patient’s uterus had been, Hansberry devised a vertical way to apply the endo stitch that simplifies the procedure and reduces the risk of complication.

The technique will shorten the period of time that it takes to close the removal of the uterus and make it easier for surgeons who do not perform hysterectomies on a regular basis. Using a medical dummy, Tony was able to stitch three times faster with the endo stitch versus the conventional needle driver. “It took me a day or two to come up with the concept,” said Hansberry, who has dreamed of becoming a neurosurgeon since the age of 11.

Hansberry was guided by Dr. Brent Siebel, a urogynecologist, and Bruce Nappi, administrative director of the Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research (CSESaR). Hansberry’s discovery was awarded second place in the regional science fair in February 2009 in the medical category.

Described as shy, bright and studious, Hansberry is the son of an African Methodist Episcopal pastor and a registered nurse. He interned last summer at the University of Florida’s CSESaR, just down the street from his middle school. The ninth grader is already being compared to a first year medical student. And Hansberry plans to stay in the field of medicine–his goal is to attend the University of Florida to become a trained neurosurgeon.

Hansberry recently presented his findings in front of an auditorium filled with doctors at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. He is humbled but proud of his medical achievement which colleagues say will most likely be adopted by the medical profession. “They were very surprised that a ninth grader could do this kind of procedure,” Hansberry told Our Weekly.

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