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James Clemens HOSA Club wins state biomedical debate

Logan Esterling, from left, Lakshmi Subramani, Madelyn McClay and Yasanka Chalasani are members of biomedical debate team for HOSA at James Clemens. (CONTRIBUTED)
Logan Esterling, from left, Lakshmi Subramani, Madelyn McClay and Yasanka Chalasani are members of biomedical debate team for HOSA at James Clemens. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – The heavy subject of treating obese patients rose to first place for the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Club at James Clemens High School.

The biomedical debate team earned the honor at the Alabama State HOSA Conference at Renaissance Montgomery Convention Center on Feb. 7-8.

The team includes Logan Esterling, Yasanka Chalasani, Madelyn McClay and HOSA president Lakshmi Subramani. They will compete at the 2013 HOSA National Leadership Conference at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel on June 26-29.

Other James Clemens competitors were Emerald Gilbert and Kerstin Savoie, health poster; Cierra Smith, medical reading; Moon Su Kang, medical math; James Prusinski, who advanced to second round in sports medicine; Tyler Lynd, nutrition knowledge test; and Ahmed Belhadj, pathophysiology.

In the first round, the biomedical team faced 50 multiple-choice questions. From test scores, top teams advanced to debate, coach Denise Adkison said. She teaches biomedical sciences, chemistry 1 and advanced-placement environmental science.

From nine competing teams, James Clemens, Arab, Sparkman and Hoover high schools advanced. For the “Physician Participation in Lifestyle Rationing” topic, their resolution was, “Should doctors be given the right to deny people non-emergency care if they smoke or are obese?”

Teams had to defend both pro and con sides but only had two minutes advance notice. For the supporting argument, James Clemens students argued that denying care saved money for the healthcare system and insurance companies. In addition, non-emergency surgeries for this group are more dangerous.

“The con points were it’s unethical and against basic medical rights to deny patients treatment. Lifestyle rationing doesn’t actually save money,” Adkison said. Following James Clemens in first place, Sparkman earned second and Hoover third.

A service-based organization, HOSA focuses on medical service projects. Their 2013 beneficiary is Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. James Clemens HOSA already has conducted fundraisers and will volunteer and walk in the Great Strides National Walk Event, Adkison said.

This semester, HOSA will volunteer at an assisted-living facility and make shoebox gifts for a local children’s hospital.

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