Switch to Simulation: University of Washington

The Physicians Committee

Switch to Simulation: University of Washington

The University of Washington (UW) uses live pigs to teach a surgical airway procedure to paramedic students, practicing paramedics, and flight nurses. The program instructs trainees to make an incision in the throat of a live pig to insert a breathing tube. This procedure is performed up to six times on each pig. At the end of each training session, the animal is killed.

Human-based training methods are widely implemented at paramedic training programs across the Pacific Northwest. According to our survey of 16 regional programs, UW’s is the only one using animals. In addition, 99 percent of Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) programs in the United States and Canada (307 of 309) do not use animals for the training of surgical airway or any other skills. Also, as of Jan. 2015 the Department of Defense ended the use of animals for military ATLS training.

When using pigs to teach surgical airway, a proper procedure can only be performed once. After the first attempt, other participants must practice the procedure on areas of the throat that are not similar to real-life landmarks. The TraumaMan System, a realistic human body simulator, provides the opportunity to perform a proper surgical airway repeatedly by replacing the “tissue” above the simulated trachea, giving each trainee a “first cut” experience.

In fact, UW’s simulation center maintains numerous human-based training devices, including the TraumaMan System, which can replace the use of animals immediately.

Despite the availability of these human-based methods, UW continues to use live animals to train paramedics. Please take action and ask top officials at the university to end this educationally inferior and inhumane practice immediately—because Washington deserves better.

Take Action

Take Action

Report: The Case for Replacing Animal Use in the University of Washington Paramedic Program

Animal Use in Paramedic Training Programs in the Pacific Northwest

Media Contact:
Reina Pohl, M.P.H.
Communications Coordinator

Campaign Contact:
Christine Kauffman
Research and Education Program Specialist