Advocate pathologist gives anatomy lesson Richards students won't forget
Smiling for most of his 50-minute presentation, Dr. Jamie Walloch delivered an anatomy lesson that no student at Richards High School will soon forget.
Blending hands-on discovery with a health primer, Walloch explained what happens to organs such as the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs when people suffer injuries or choose to abuse their bodies.
Walloch, a pathologist at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, allowed Honors Anatomy and Physiology students to examine organs taken from bodies during autopsies.
Most of the time students studied livers, hearts, and brains earnestly. But not always.
Handing an organ to a student, he explained that she now held “the testicle of a 16-year old.” As one, the class groaned.
“It was a sports injury,” Walloch said, laughing just a little.
Because lifestyle choices can prevent so many diseases, Walloch spent a lot of time talking about smoking, alcohol abuse, diet, and other factors that students could control. He spent the most time talking about heart disease, the leading killer of Americans.
“Smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension cause heart disease. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is the most common form of heart disease. A poor diet often results in atherosclerosis,” Walloch explained.
Part of Walloch’s presentation also resembled a quiz show. He would describe an organ’s functions or defining characteristics, and then ask if students could guess it correctly.
“This is the largest solid organ. It’s a redundant organ. You only need one-sixth of it. This organ can regenerate. It weighs five to six pounds. Anyone?” Walloch asked.
“Is it the liver,” someone asked from the back.
“Yes, the liver. I have one here, we call it a hockey puck liver. It’s been damaged by cirrhosis so it’s extremely firm. What’s a primary cause of cirrhosis? Right,
alcohol abuse,” said Walloch, and the health lesson continued.