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Tony Hansberry II
Tony Hansberry II Tony Hansberry II


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Tony Hansberry II is a ninth-grader The new sewing technique he has developed helps to to reduce the risk of complications and simplifies the hysterectomy procedure for less seasoned surgeons He is only 15, but has already become instrumental in developing an advanced surgical stitching procedure used in hysterectomies His goal is to attend medical school and become a neurosurgeon For Tony, it began in school He attends Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts, a medical magnet school for middle and high school students As part of its integrated medical curriculum, students receive medical instruction, but are also exposed to medical professionals who demonstrate advanced surgical techniques with specialized equipment His lead medical teacher, Angela TenBroeck, told the Florida Times-Union that Hansberry is a typical student, but is way ahead of his classmates when it comes to surgical skills “I would put him up against a first year medical student He is an outstanding young man,” she said.

During his summer break, Tony volunteered at the University of Florida’s Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research (CSESaR) at Shands Jacksonville Hospital He was supervised by Dr Brent Siebel, a urogynecologist, and Bruce Nappi, the administrative director Together they worked with Tony exploring the mannequins and simulation equipment that physicians and nurses use in training He became quite interested in invasive surgery and using laparoscopic instruments As the story goes, one day an obstetrics and gynecology professor asked the group to help him figure out why no one was using a particular surgical device, called an endostitch for hysterectomy suturing procedures This long medical device has clamps on the end, but Tony used the instrument in a new way allowing for vertical suturing, instead of the traditional horizontal method After a day or two, Tony had perfected and tested his new technique He soon developed a science fair project comparing the suturing times of the vertical endostitch closures vs the horizontal closures using a conventional needle driver instrument.

His results showed he was able to stitch three times faster using this new method Use of this inventive technique may lead to shorter surgical times and improved patient treatment Tony recently presented his research at the February 2009 regional science fair in the medical category, and came in second place A short three months later, he was demonstrating the technique to a large assembly of doctors and surgeons as part of the University of Florida’s medical education week “I was not nervous at all,” said Tony, “There were many doctors and nurses also presenting and judging The simulations and studies were interesting to look at” Tony’s determination and skills have impressed many and his achievements are well-deserved He plans to continue his education in neurosurgery at the University of Florida after graduating high school Tony says of his future, “I am interested in the nervous system and brain functions - where just a small amount of damage can cause detrimental effects I can help people while figuring out problems.

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