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Trauma Training: Physicians Choose Nonanimal Alternatives

Many medical centers across the country have begun to explore ways to base medical trauma training entirely on human anatomy. While many courses in the United States still use live dogs to demonstrate emergency lifesaving procedures, killing an estimated 5,000 dogs every year, centers such as the University of Maryland Medical Systems and the Memorial Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, have pioneered the use of human cadavers and realistic simulator models.

PHOTO © 2000, ARTVILLE / MODEL USED

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses train physicians to provide emergency patient care, instructing them in techniques for inserting airways and chest tubes, tapping fluid from the chest, and other procedures. Doctors who have learned these procedures using animals have traditionally been shortchanged, as canine anatomy differs significantly from that of humans. Another disadvantage of using animals is the cost; licensed animal caretakers, housing, veterinary care, and anesthesia are required. Most importantly, the use of animals in all areas of medical training is coming under scrutiny as medical students call for ethical teaching methods that are more in accord with the physician's ultimate mission to heal, not cause harm.

The American College of Surgeons has endorsed the use of cadavers for ATLS courses, and both faculty and students at University of Maryland Medical Systems—one of the pioneers in nonanimal ATLS teaching—are extremely pleased with their learning experiences. As awareness of these alternatives grows, so has the list of medical centers opting out of animal-based training. Several are listed below.

ATLS Centers That Do Not Use Animals
Memorial Medical Center
Contact: Lynn K. Stuart, R.N., M.S.N.
912-350-8027
Savannah, Ga.
University Medical Center
Contact: Connie Clemmons-Brown, R.N.
702-383-2092
Las Vegas, Nev.
University of Maryland Medical Systems
Contact: Brenda Fosler
410-328-7226
Baltimore, Md.
Washoe Medical Center
Contact: Snow Morrison, R.N.
775-982-4342
Reno, Nev.
Westchester County Medical Center
Contact: Gail Murray
914-594-3245



 

Summer 2001 (Volume X, Number 3)
Summer 2001
Volume X
Number 3

Good Medicine
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