Local student attends medical conference

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 8, 2011

Austin Adler readily admits that he got a bit “woozy” watching the first cut in a live knee replacement surgery. But, he held his ground.

“A couple of the others had to leave but I wasn’t about to miss that,” Adler said, with a smile.

Adler was one of 25 participants in the National Youth Leadership Medical Conference in New York City this summer who were selected to view live surgeries at New York University’s Medical Center and other area hospitals.

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“There were 300 high school students at the Conference and I was excited to be one of those pick to view the live surgeries,” Adler said. “Watching the surgeries confirmed my desire to study medicine and become an orthopedic surgeon.”

Adler said an alumni of the annual student medical conference recommended him and he jumped at the opportunity.

“I’ve always been interested in the health field and I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to go into some area of medicine,” he said. “I really enjoy sports. I play baseball at Charles Henderson and run cross-country. So, I decided that sports medicine was the field for me.”

Adler said the National Youth Leadership Medical Conference helped prepare him for the long road head.

“Attending the conference really was an eye opener for me,” Adler said. “We had a lot of opportunities to learn more about the medical field and the different aspect of it. It was really great to be involved in all that goes on in a hospital and especially behind the scenes. I was amazed at the technological advances. We were able to observe a surgery using robotics. It was like the surgeon was playing a video game. It was incredible.”

Adler said the live surgeries provided him with opportunities that he would not have had otherwise.

“You just don’t often get a chance to observe prostate surgeries and colonoscopies and knee replacements,” he said.

“None of the surgeries bothered me. After that first wooziness, I was fine. But I was surprised how physical the knee replacement was.”

Adler said that he knows reaching his goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon is a lofty one and that he will have to burn the midnight oil for 12 to 15 years to reach his goal.

“That’s what I want to do and I’m committed to it,” he said.

The Charles Henderson High School senior plans to attend UAB with hopes of being admitted to medical school and one day hanging up a shingle that, in a sense, says, “I made it!”