Victory in Alabama! Simulator Replaces Live Pigs in Trauma Training Course
Independence Day came early this year for pigs in Alabama. Just four days after PCRM wrote to ask the University of South Alabama to stop killing pigs in its trauma training course, the university contacted PCRM to learn about superior nonanimal training methods. In the latest course, instructors used the TraumaMan System instead of live pigs.
In his polite yet persuasive letter, PCRM physician John Pippin, M.D., wrote to the university’s Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course director D. Lynn Dyess, M.D., “We respectfully ask that the University of South Alabama (USA) join this progressive movement that is ethically and educationally preferable for ATLS training, and that is consistent with the Animal Welfare Act.” This request was the impetus for the university’s complete replacement of animal use in its latest course.
“The … TraumaMan purchase was part of a decision to use nonanimal models instead of live pigs in USA’s ATLS course,” said a USA spokesperson in an article published in the university’s newspaper following the announcement. In the same article, the school’s health sciences director of human simulation Mike Jacobs, Ph.D., said, “This simulator will allow new residents to practice and become proficient in a number of basic and advanced surgical skills and procedures as they progress through the curriculum.”
No upcoming ATLS course is scheduled at USA, but PCRM expects the university to continue using TraumaMan.
PCRM’s ongoing survey of ATLS programs in the United States and Canada has found that 189 of the 202 programs (more than 90 percent) that have responded exclusively use nonanimal models for instruction. The vast majority of those 189 programs exclusively use the TraumaMan System.
These 189 put additional pressure on the remaining programs that are still unnecessarily killing live animals in trauma training courses. These include programs in Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.
That list includes Massachusetts General Hospital, which recently used and killed sheep in its ATLS course for physicians—although it already uses TraumaMan to teach ATLS procedures to medical students.
But you can contact Massachusetts General Hospital’s ATLS course instructor Susan Briggs, M.D., today and politely ask her to end animal use in the institution’s ATLS program before the October course.