TOLEDO—Twenty-six bus bench ads across Toledo take a stab at the quality of the University of Toledo Medical Center’s (UTMC) training techniques. Sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a national nonprofit of more than 12,000 physicians—the ads depict a bloody scalpel and state "WARNING: You Are in UTMC’s Substandard Medical Training Zone. ToledoDeservesBetter.org."
At UTMC, emergency medicine residents, paramedics, and other participants practice procedural skills on live pigs. In contrast, 93 percent of surveyed emergency medicine residencies (194 of 209) in the United States and Canada do not use animals, exclusively using human-based methods, such as medical simulation, cadavers, and partial task trainers, instead. These methods better replicate the human body and provide repeat opportunities for practicing procedures. In a document detailing the animal use, UTMC acknowledges that studies “concluded that the humane methods were adequate to achieve the desired skills.”
“Toledo residents should have a vested interest in the medical training that happens in their community,” says John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee. “If the medical professionals that serve their city are not given at least the level of training that is considered standard elsewhere, outcomes for emergency department patients and trauma victims may suffer as a result.”
The training under fire involves cutting into the throat of a live pig to insert a breathing tube, inserting needles into the chest and bones, and splitting open the breastbone in order to access the heart and control bleeding via sutures and staples. At the end of each session, the animals are killed. The university uses up to 125 pigs per year to train residents and various emergency personnel.
UTMC already has a $36 million state-of-the-art simulation center—the Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center—that could provide the resources and simulation capabilities to replace the use of animals.
For a copy of the ad artwork or to speak with Dr. John Pippin, please contact Reina Pohl at 202-527-7326 or RPohl@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 and medical training.