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Medical school student becomes real-life hero during pretend examination

He’s not yet a doctor . . . but he played one in real life.

A University of Virginia medical school student is being credited with saving a man’s life after a routine drill turned into a diagnosis drama.

Sharp-eyed Ryan Jones was reportedly tasked with examining actors pretending to suffer from specific symptoms in a standardized exercise that tests medical school students’ ability to analyze problems and make correct diagnoses.

But CBS News reports Jones discovered one of the actors assigned to him -- Jim Malloy -- actually had a very real -- and serious -- condition during his faux examination: an abdominal aortic aneurysm.   

Such an aneurysm is reportedly a condition in which the main blood vessel to the pelvis and lower extremities becomes enlarged to the point of potentially rupturing and causing internal bleeding, or even death.

"He thought I might have been a ringer that was planted in there to test him, and I had no symptoms,” Malloy told CBS News. “He thought I was a plant with the real situation… I really didn't think anything of it until the supervising doctor told me they had discovered something. Then I was concerned that Ryan found, felt an aneurysm."

For his part, Malloy soon thereafter reportedly underwent surgery to remove the aneurysm detected by Ryan, and has since recovered.

Recently Malloy’s wife, Louise, expressed her gratitude to the aspiring physician and reportedly added of his seemingly miraculous diagnosis, “Don’t ever think you can’t affect a life. My husband, Jim, is living proof that you can.”

In an odd and fateful twist, Malloy told CBS News the condition he was told to portray by UVA’s medical school teachers was actually the very same problem Ryan eventually diagnosed for real – an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

The university reportedly says Jones is now amidst interviews for residency programs around the nation -- and aspires to become a radiation oncologist.

Click for more from CBSNews.com.

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