Area physicians now have a resource for borrowing pathology samples, while
area science teachers and their students have somewhere to view and study
professionally displayed pathology specimens now that Southeast Georgia
Health System has opened a pathology museum on its Brunswick Campus.
Mark Hanly, MD, a pathologist with Southeastern Pathology Associates, says
the museum is a first in the area. “This is a real gem for our area
and a tremendous resource for students and physicians,” says Hanly,
who says the museum is open by appointment only. “If a physician
is doing a presentation on, for example, the dangers of smoking, drinking
too much, or abusing drugs, he or she could borrow specimens to show exactly
what these things do to the body. We can also bring in students to view
the specimens in a properly regulated, safe environment.”
Hanly says the establishment of the museum was made possible by the hard
work of two local students—Wells Ellenberg, a senior this fall at
Frederica Academy, and Bridget Staab, a Brunswick High School graduate
now starting her junior year as a pre-med major at the University of Georgia.
“We have collected specimens from autopsies for the past 10 years,”
Hanly says. “Wells and Bridget painstakingly went through hundreds
and hundreds of specimens. Once they had gone through everything and we
selected the ones we should keep, they mounted them and did a truly professional
job, making sure the specimens are mounted correctly so the pathology
can be observed."
Ellenberg, who has worked with Hanly on school science projects as far
back as middle school, says he and Staab spent almost three months on
the project and both thoroughly enjoyed the undertaking. “The work
was very interesting and Bridget and I even got to sit in on several autopsies,”
says Ellenberg, who wants to pursue a career either in law or in medicine
as either a pathologist or neurosurgeon. “I wish I could continue
Staab agrees that their labors over the summer were well spent. “We
got to see samples of conditions that students normally don’t get
to see, such as a calcified heart valve—there are only one or two
cases documented in the United States and we got to see one,” Staab says.
Now instead of the specimens being hidden away, they can be viewed in Plexiglas
boxes with the specimens labeled with the organ’s name, the age
and sex of the deceased patient, and the cause of death. “Of course,
this will be an evolving project as we add more and new specimens, but
this would not be possible without Wells and Bridget,” Hanley says.
“They are both extremely intelligent and talented young people.
I’ve been very proud to work with both of them.”