Eva Bass is only 8 years old but don’t be surprised if she helps shape our future
By Angie Fenton | Photos by David Harrison
Eva Bass was 6 years old when she took an interest in the medical field. A serious interest.
After watching episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” with her mom, Ysha, “She started asking me questions about why they do that to the body and asked if there was anything for kids to learn more,” Ysha said.
But Eva didn’t want just anything – she wanted the real thing, so her mother ordered a dissection kit containing a cow brain and pig’s heart.
“(Eva) was munching crackers in one hand while dissecting the heart with the booklet that came with it in the other,” recalled Ysha with a laugh, noting that her son, Eva’s brother Ashton, “wanted to throw up.”
To be fair, Ashton, 10, a fifth grader at Highland Hills Middle School, favors hockey, baseball, golf and collecting baseball cards to his sister’s passion. “I know I stay away because I hate blood,” he admitted. “They’ll turn on surgeries on TV, and I have to leave the room. I feel nervous around it, but Eva loves it.”
And once or twice, Ashton continued, “I got to scrub in.”
At first, Ysha and her husband Bobby treated Eva’s fascination gingerly. “We didn’t want to make it super gruesome to her,” Ysha explained.
So, the parents created a corner in Eva’s room that emulated the look of an operating room, ordered kid-sized scrubs and actual tools and utensils – microscope, arm sling, crutches, scalpel, clamps, scissors, stethoscope and more – a surgeon would use. (“She knows how to handle all of them,” Ysha said, “and when her cousins come over to play, the first thing she does is put them up.”) They made Jell-O molds containing objects for dissection practice and helped Eva find online videos to further her instruction.
Last Christmas, Eva asked for a medical doll to practice her surgery technique. Despite Ysha’s research, “The only things that popped up were dummies real surgeons use and a doll from Sweden, “ which was inadequate for a kid as genuinely interested as Eva was and is. So the Greenville Elementary third grader decided to make her own. Thus far, the Bass family has met with a patent attorney and Eva is on her third design of the doll, which will eventually be produced and available for purchase.
Recently, Ysha caught Eva reading an anatomy book by flashlight under her blankets as she took notes.
“I think I was shocked at first – I’d told her to go to bed – but then again, what do you do? You can’t get mad. She’s such a good kid. She just really wants to learn,” Ysha said.
“It’s pretty incredible,” said dad Bobby. “If she ends up being a surgeon or something else, great, but the root is the same: Eva wants to help people.” For now, that desire is more specific: Eva wants to help people by becoming a neurosurgeon.
“I know that I have to study to be a good surgeon,” said Eva, who hopes to one day adopt the motto of her favorite “Grey’s Anatomy” doctor, Dr. Derek Shepherd: “It’s a great day to save lives.”
Petite, polite and a bit reserved – at least during her interview – Eva, who has started doing videos to teach other kids interested in medicine, offered a bit of advice for others her age: “If you’re a kid, never do it (dissecting and using medical tools) without a parent. Oh, and start trying different stuff to see if you like it.”