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Cow tongue lets students taste a medical career

Nila Griffin, a soon-to-be ninth-grader at Decatur High School, prepares to clean pepper out of a cow tongue wound during the Health Adventures program at St. Francis Hospital on Tuesday. - Margo Hoffman/ The Mirror
Nila Griffin, a soon-to-be ninth-grader at Decatur High School, prepares to clean pepper out of a cow tongue wound during the Health Adventures program at St. Francis Hospital on Tuesday.
— image credit: Margo Hoffman/ The Mirror

Cutting up a cow tongue didn’t interfere with Marilyn Barriga’s desire to work toward a career in medicine.

Barriga, who will be a freshman at Decatur High School next year, was one of more than 20 Federal Way area students to participate in St. Francis Hospital’s Health Adventures program last week. Students were selected based on their grades and an essay submitted with their application.

The program, in its sixth year, encourages teens to pursue medical careers. During each of the four nights of the program, students listened to speakers from different hospital departments and participated in hands-on projects.

On Tuesday, the students learned to clean wounds and suture using cow tongues and pepper.

“It’s really hard to clean out a wound. I would have thought it would be easier,” Barriga said.

“I feel like it’s disgusting but it’s a great experience. It’s a fun experience,” said Nila Griffin, who will be a ninth-grader at the TAF Academy next year.

On Monday, students learned about people with disabilities by receiving shock treatments that left them with temporarily limited mobility. Griffin said that she learned she would have to be patient in a medical career.

She hopes to someday become an obstetrician/gynecologist.

“I really like working with kids and newborns and babies,” she said. “I know it’s probably a great experience to be able to bring new life into the world.”

The Health Adventures program also teaches students about the importance of math and science.

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhoffman@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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