Doctors File Criminal Complaint Against Hartford Hospital for Mutilating Live Pigs

The Physicians Committee
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NEWS RELEASE June 15, 2012
Doctors File Criminal Complaint Against Hartford Hospital for Mutilating Live Pigs
John Pippin, M.D.

Hartford Is Last in Connecticut to Use Live Animals for Trauma Training; Ninety-Eight Percent of U.S. Medical Schools Use Simulators

HARTFORD, Conn.—Live pigs are unlawfully used in trauma training classes at Hartford Hospital, doctors with the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) say in a criminal complaint filed June 14.

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) training at Hartford Hospital involves cutting into live pigs and practicing emergency medical procedures. After the training session, the animals are killed. Although the animals are anesthetized during the procedures, they endure the trauma of confinement, shipping, preparation, manipulation, and death.

“The animal use at Hartford Hospital is inhumane and violates Connecticut’s anti-cruelty statute,” says local surgeon Marjorie Cramer, M.D., F.A.C.S. “Cutting into living animals is a substandard way to teach emergency procedures that will be performed on humans. Medical centers should use state-of-the-art, human-centered methods for all trauma courses.”

The criminal complaint, which will be filed with the state’s attorney, argues that Connecticut’s animal cruelty statute criminalizes conduct that “mutilates or … kills or unjustifiably injures any animal.” Dr. Cramer co-signed the complaint with PCRM’s director of academic affairs, John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., and Connecticut physicians Sharron Laplante, M.D., M.P.H., and Bernard Siegel, M.D.

“We believe that Hartford Hospital should be held criminally liable for its cruelty to animals and request that you investigate the live animal component of its ATLS curriculum as soon as possible,” the doctors say in the complaint.

Nonanimal education methods are exclusively used by 98 percent of ATLS programs, including Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven and all of the 23 Canadian facilities providing ATLS training. Hartford Hospital already owns a simulator validated for this training and could immediately replace its use of animals.

For a copy of the criminal complaint and an interview with Dr. Cramer or Dr. Pippin, please contact Dania DePas at 202-527-7382 or ddepas@pcrm.org.

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.

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