Makers of Simulation Products Joined Nonprofit Physicians Group to Discuss How Incredibly Lifelike Devices Can Improve Military Training
WASHINGTON—A soldier in full uniform screamed in pain before collapsing on the floor with blood seeping through his pants at the thigh. That was the scene in the Cannon House building on Capitol Hill Thursday as doctors and makers of groundbreaking medical training devices demonstrated how their trauma simulators—including one called the Cut Suit that is worn by an actor—can improve the U.S. military’s care of wounded service members. The devices feature lifelike skin, anatomically correct organs, breakable bones, and realistic blood flow.
The event was organized by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and was open to congressional representatives, Hill staff, and members of the public. Attendees got hands-on demonstrations—and were invited to put on latex gloves and actually touch the insides of the patient simulators—and a chance to talk with experts about the need for a new paradigm in combat trauma training.
Speakers included Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., and ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; Elizabeth Kucinich, director of government affairs for the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; Kit Lavell, executive vice president of San Diego-based Strategic Operations, Inc.; Christopher Sakezles, Ph.D., president and chief technology officer of SynDaver Labs; and Robert F. Buckman Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., founder of Operative Experience, Inc.
“I wouldn't want you operating on me if you've only operated on a pig,” said Dr. Buckman of Operative Experience when talking about how animal use in trauma training cannot compare to the superior training a simulator provides.
“When you go through realistic training, you're better able to overcome effects of cortisol in your bloodstream,” said Kit Lavell of Strategic Operations during an interactive demonstration of the Cut Suit. The high-intensity demonstration included on-the-ground treatment of the wounded service member, as well as surgical procedures after the service member had been loaded onto a stretcher and evacuated from the “battlefield.”
Dr. Sakezles of Florida-based Syndaver Labs discussed cost savings associated with using simulators instead of live animals: “Our ultimate goal is the replacement of live animals and human cadavers in surgical training and medical device development tests with synthetic products that are less expensive than the relevant animal or human model.”
For information about the event or to speak with Dr. Sakezles or Elizabeth Kucinich, please contact Dania DePas at 202-527-7382 or DDePas@pcrm.org.
About Kit Lavell
Kit Lavell is executive vice president of San Diego-based Strategic Operations, Inc. Mr. 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.
About Christopher Sakezles, Ph.D.
Dr. Christopher Sakezles is president and chief technology officer of Tampa-based SynDaver Labs, a company focused on the design and development of synthetic human tissues and body parts for the medical device and surgical simulation industries. Dr. Sakezles has degrees in mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, and polymer science, as well as extensive experience in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. He began working on live tissue replacement technologies at the University of Florida in 1993.
About Robert F. Buckman Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Robert F. Buckman Jr. is founder of North East, Md.-based Operative Experience, Inc., a surgeon, and inventor of medical technology. He served for 15 years as the director of the busiest trauma center in the city of Philadelphia. He also served for more than a decade in the medical corps of the United States Army Reserve, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel.
About Elizabeth Kucinich
Elizabeth Kucinich is the director of government affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Ms. Kucinich organized the American Monetary Institute’s first international conference on monetary reform, served as an advisor to the president of the 63rd U.N. General Assembly, and is a board director of a number of international organizations, including Sean Penn’s Haiti Relief Organization.
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.