MURRELLS INLET — When the doctors who own Carolina Coast Surgery Center decided to establish a new medical mentoring program for high school students, they underestimated how many teenagers would faint in the operating room.
“We had a couple of kids — a lot of kids — that passed out,” said Dr. Andrew Putman, a hand surgeon at the practice. “A lot of kids get queasy.”
That’s why Julie Dyer, the surgery center’s community liaison, emphasized to students passing through the practice this summer they needed to eat breakfast before surgery and should sit down if they start feeling nauseous in the operating room.
“We haven’t had any pass out this year,” Dyer said.
The medical mentoring program at the outpatient orthopedic surgery center is in its second year and allows local teenagers interested in health care careers to shadow surgeons, physical therapists, nurses and other professionals at the practice. The students submit applications for the program to their health science teachers and then Dyer further narrows down the pool of applicants.
This year, 55 students from 10 high schools in Horry and Georgetown counties were selected to participate in the free program.
Fifty of those 55 students are female — a noteworthy statistic considering the fact that more than any other medical specialty, orthopedic surgery is dominated by male physicians. According to numbers compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges, 95 percent of all orthopedic surgeons operating in the United States in 2015 were men.
All the physicians and the physician assistants who work at Carolina Coast Surgery Center, and the affiliated Carolina Orthopaedics, are male. But more than 90 percent of the office’s support staff are women, said practice manager Tammy Andrews.
“It’s a woman-dominated field,” she said.
Meanwhile, a record number of…