Indiana University Stops Using Cats for Pediatrics Training
Live cats will no longer have tubes forced into their mouths and windpipes at Indiana University. Thanks to PCRM, the school is switching to simulators in its pediatrics residency program.
PCRM had pushed the university to move to nonanimal methods for teaching endotracheal intubation. In response, the school began an inquiry into ways to replace animals. Nonanimal education methods are used by 94 percent of U.S. pediatrics programs surveyed by PCRM.
The school’s residency program director confirmed the change in a letter to PCRM’s director of academic affairs John Pippin, M.D. “As you recall from our earlier communications, we had carefully considered your prior request,” writes Jerry Rushton, M.D. “The IU Simulation Center will now be our sole focus of skills training for resident physicians to learn the skills necessary to stabilize critically ill neonates.”
IU’s move to nonanimal methods follows similar announcements from medical institutions across the country targeted by PCRM. Since January, 10 pediatrics residency programs—including Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, and the University of Arizona—have also confirmed that they have stopped using live animals for training.
This shift has been facilitated by innovations in medical simulation technology, increased availability of alternatives, a rising awareness of ethical concerns, and a growing acknowledgement that medical training must be human focused. But the use of live animals for pediatrics training continues at the University of Washington, where ferrets suffer tracheal bruising, bleeding, scarring, severe pain, and sometimes death.
ONLINE> Ask the University of Washington to stop using animals for pediatrics training. Go to PCRM.org/Pediatrics.