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Practice makes perfect: Human patient simulator provides new teaching tool

{Dr. Michael Hogan}
Photo by HSIMS
Surgical resident Dr. Michael Hogan demonstrates the use of the new trauma simulator, purchased by the Health Care Corporation of St. John's with donations from the oil and gas sector. In this simulation, the man-like equipment demonstrates symptoms consistent with a car accident. For teaching purposes, the scenario can be videotaped and discussed later with the resident and other members of the trauma team.

With all the appearance and symptoms of an injured man on a stretcher, a $375,000 human patient simulator is now available to help teach medical students and healthcare professionals in the province.

The trauma simulator was purchased by the Health Care Corporation of St. John's through money raised in the Give to Feel Good Capital Campaign. Funds donated by the oil and gas sector included a lead gift from Petro-Canada, together with donations from Chevron Canada Resources, Murphy Oil Company Ltd., Norsk Hydro Canada Oil & Gas Inc., North Atlantic Refining Limited and Schlumberger Canada Ltd. The total raised from the oil and gas sector was about $800,000 for the trauma simulator and other related trauma/emergency equipment.

For the next five years, the sophisticated equipment will be leased to the medical school for use as a teaching tool. The trauma simulator will allow physicians and medical students to work with a multiple-injury patient in a highly realistic environment. It can also simulate scenarios with critically ill patients that are not trauma related, for example airway problems and cardiac problems.

The General Hospital is now accredited with the Trauma Association of Canada as a tertiary care trauma centre. “The trauma simulator is the first of its kind in our province,” said John Abbot, chair of the Board of Trustees of the HCC. “It provides the opportunity for medical education and research, thereby enhancing the health care system for all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Dr. Darrell Boone, a surgeon with the HCC and member of the Faculty of Medicine, spoke on behalf of medical staff interested in acquiring the trauma simulator as adjunct to education. “It will be of use in teaching undergraduates and graduates as well as for continuing medical education for physicians and also allied health personnel. Practice makes perfect, but in some situations you can't learn on the job - we need high fidelity experience without deadly outcomes.”