Makers of Simulation Devices Join Physicians Group to Discuss How Lifelike Devices Can Improve Military Training
WASHINGTON—The latest in 21st century medical simulation technology came to Capitol Hill on Oct. 22 for a hands-on demonstration of cutting-edge medical training devices. The makers of three groundbreaking combat trauma training simulators discussed their products’ potential to revolutionize the care of wounded service members on the battlefield. The devices feature lifelike skin, anatomically correct organs, breakable bones, and realistic blood flow and clotting.
Attendees also heard from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA-4) and Robert DeMuth, M.D., a physician and former Army Major who credits countless lives saved on the battlefield to simulation devices. The audience will have a chance to talk to the experts and even get their hands dirty while catching a glimpse of the new era of medical training these simulators represent.
Medical technology has advanced rapidly over the last decade, making older training methods—like operating on live animals—unnecessary. New simulators provide benefits that animal models cannot, including exceptional physiologic similarity to humans, accurate imitation of uniquely human wounds, and the capacity for trainees to repeat procedures many times.
“When I served in Iraq, I made sure that every medic under my command trained with advanced medical simulators,” said Dr. DeMuth. “In my opinion, the use of animals for trauma training is simply no longer necessary, given the availability of this technology.”
For information about the event, or to speak with Dr. DeMuth or another expert, please contact Dania DePas at 202-527-7382 or DDePas@PCRM.org.
About the Speakers
Noah Gittell is the director of government affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Mr. Gittell leads PCRM’s legislative activities to better inform Congress and the executive branch of changing standards in nutrition and research. He coordinates with nutritionists and dietitians to affect agricultural and health policy as it relates to nutrition. He also works with PCRM’s experts in medical simulation to promote alternatives to live animal labs in federally funded research and medical education.
Robert DeMuth, M.D.
Dr. Robert DeMuth grew up in a military family and enlisted in the Army just before turning 19. He was sent to Germany as a combat engineer before transferring to the 82nd Airborne Division in Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and then to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm. It was there he decided to pursue medicine; after returning home to earn his medical degree on an Army scholarship, he completed a tour as a flight surgeon with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. He deployed for a second tour in Iraq after 9/11 then was allowed to return to complete his residency training in internal medicine. Dr. DeMuth was deployed to Iraq for a third and final time in 2005; he returned home in 2006 and has been practicing medicine as a civilian physician since late 2007.
Patrick Smith is a strategic account manager on the government sales team for Laerdal Medical with global responsibilities for the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. He works closely with the marketing and sales organizations within Laerdal to lead development and implementation of opportunities within the government and military branches. Previously, Smith served in the Army and specialized in counterterrorism as a counterintelligence special agent assigned to Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. He also served as an intelligence officer at Fort Riley in Kansas. After departing from the military, Smith pursued a career in pharmaceutical sales. In 2012, he left the pharmaceutical industry for a new career in medical simulation with Laerdal.
John Cook has had broad experience in the medical and medical device field and has been instrumental in the introduction and/or development of a number of breakthrough technologies in the field. His contributions include initial development or advancement in the fields of continuous blood pressure monitoring, percutaneous renal stone removal, single room maternity care, and laparoscopic port closure. He currently holds three U.S. patents. Active in medical simulation since 1999, Cook is a past board member of Limbs & Thing Ltd. of Bristol, England, and president of its U.S. subsidiary. In simulation, he has contributed a number of innovative technologies in the areas of bronchoscopy, arthroscopy, and emergency medicine. He founded Simulution Inc. in 2003 and has been actively involved in all facets of the business.
Anthony LaPorta, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Anthony LaPorta is a 1973 graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin (Marquette), with postgraduate research at the University of Oxford. He is retired military, having served as the chief surgical consultant for U.S. forces in Europe. Notably, he was one of the early developers of the da Vinci Surgical System (robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery) and boasts 75 presentations and publications. Dr. LaPorta has extensive experience in medical education. At Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, he was the director of graduate medical education, and he ran residencies for six different surgical specialties. He also ran surgical residencies at Eisenhower Army Medical Center and Letterman Army Hospital. He currently serves as clinical professor of surgery at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Kit Lavell is executive vice president of San Diego-based Strategic Operations Inc. Lavell flew more than 200 combat missions as a naval aviator in Vietnam and has written extensively on military and technology issues for newspapers and magazines.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.