Doctors Protest Southern Illinois University's Use of Pigs in Invasive Procedures

The Physicians Committee
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Doctors Protest Southern Illinois University’s Use of Pigs in Invasive Procedures

Doctors with the Physicians Committee joined students and Springfield-area residents on Oct. 30 for a “To Improve Education, Switch to Simulation” demonstration outside the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU).

“Southern Illinois University’s planned use of animals is an unacceptable educational method,” says Marjorie Cramer M.D., F.A.C.S. “SIU residents deserve the best possible educational experience to prepare them to care for patients. A pig’s anatomy is vastly different from a human’s, and residents can get a better education using state-of-the-art, human-centered technology.”

Emergency medicine training at SIU would involve making an incision of the eyelid to drain previously injected fluid, then making an incision between ribs to insert a tube into the chest cavity. The residents would then surgically open the chest, make an incision in the throat, and insert a breathing tube. After the training, the pigs will be killed.

Superior nonanimal education methods are exclusively used by 83 percent of U.S. emergency medicine residency programs surveyed by the Physicians Committee. Simulab’s TraumaMan System, SynDaver’s Deluxe Cric Trainer, and CAE Healthcare’s Human Patient Simulator can be used to teach procedure skills taught in emergency medicine residency training.

The morning of the demonstration, doctors also delivered a petition for rulemaking that asks the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eliminate gaps in its enforcement of Animal Welfare Act regulations related to the use of alternatives by defining key terms otherwise left undefined with the goal of ensuring that nonanimal alternatives will be used to the greatest extent possible.

To learn more about the Physicians Committee’s Ethics in Emergency Medicine Training, visit PCRM.org/EMT.