For years, the Vet Med at UIUC has been using a fistulated cow, Brooke, to give students the opportunity to peek inside the body of our most common of domesticated ungulates. Following this example, the integrated biology department has taken the initiative to perform the same operation on one of their TAs.
“We really wanted to give students a more hands-on, or rather ‘hands-in’ experience,” explained department head Susan Fubini. “Studies show that action-based learning is the pathway to better knowledge retention among students. What’s more action-based than sticking your hands into a living person’s stomach?”
The response from students has been a mix of awe and disgust.
“On one hand, there’s nowhere else in the world where you can interact with a live human specimen to this degree,” said IB Honors senior Aleeza Maxel. “On the other, what the fuck were they thinking?”
The TA who received this operation, Michael Ahern, was reportedly offered a hefty sum to undergo the procedure, which lasted a whole 19 hours.
“Yeah, I mean I didn’t really have a choice,” Ahern explained. “There was no way I was going to be able to pay off my student loans before I’m, like, 60 without this. Definitely not looking forward to explaining this to my parents though.”
The newly-fistulated TA is available during regularly scheduled office hours for interested students who want to come in and get their hands dirty.