Reforming Trauma Training
An accident victim is brought into the emergency room unable to breathe, with internal bleeding, a spinal cord injury, and severe shock. The physician must immediately clear the airway, intubate the patient, complete a diagnostic peritoneal lavage, or perform other lifesaving procedures.
These techniques are taught only superficially in medical schools and some residencies, and advanced training is required to teach or reinforce trauma care principles.
Most trauma courses in the U.S. use live dogs to demonstrate invasive trauma skills and test students. Recently, however, course directors have explored ways to base trauma training entirely on human anatomy, and several training programs, such as the Maryland Institute of Emergency Service Systems (MIEMSS) in Baltimore, Maryland, now use simulator manikins and human cadavers to train students.
A recent survey showed that 75 percent of physician respondents prefer a human anatomy-based course, compared to a course using animals. PCRM produced Innovations in Trauma Training with Henry Heimlich, M.D., a short video documenting the non-animal trauma training program at MIEMSS, to encourage other centers to change from animal-based to human-based instruction. We have delivered the video with a “how-to” booklet to trauma course coordinators throughout the U.S. and Canada, and it has garnered a great deal of interest at medical conventions.
PCRM is now working with trauma care instructors to replace animal-based programs with high-tech patient simulators and human cadavers.