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ACT: Pigs To People? End University Of Mississippi Live Labs


Giant Step Backward For Medical Training
In the name of un-progress, University of Mississippi Medical Center resumed live pig labs to "teach" future medical practitioners how to treat human beings. The physiology drills call for students to insert catheters in pigs’ arteries and veins, then obstruct arteries and inject them with drugs. Trainees next expose the animals’ chest cavities to massage their hearts. Upon completion, all animals are killed.

UMMC already runs a sophisticated simulation center. Why not modernize ALL curricula with tools applicable to human anatomy and surgery? Mutilating live pigs is no longer viable, given accessibility to advanced human-patient simulators, cadaver systems, computerized models… In Canada, every trauma training university is now animal-free. In the U.S., some 96% use human-patient simulators for Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS).

Ask UMMC to evolve from dark-age experiments. Politely remind them: Nonhuman animals can’t mimic human disease or trauma — and worse, may mislead medical research ⁄ practice with false data.

In 2010, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote about a complaint with U.S. Agricultural Department filed by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine against University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, citing UPMC’s pig experiments despite availability of simulators. In May 2011, Pittsburgh medical school "officially ended its lethal use of live pigs for trauma training," PCRM says. "UPMC had cut open pigs to practice emergency medical procedures, but has moved to modern methods." Urge University of MS Med Center to do the same.
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Dear Dr. Keeton and Dr. Jones,

I respectfully urge University of Mississippi Medical Center to modernize its student physiology labs with animal-free instruction.

I understand UMMC still uses live pigs, instead of human-focused teaching models, for coursework that involves catheter insertion in pigs’ arteries and veins. Students obstruct animals’ arteries and inject them with drugs before exposing the animals’ chest cavities to massage their hearts. Upon conclusion, all animals are killed.

Please update UMMC training with tools applicable to human anatomy and surgery. Mutilating live pigs is no longer viable, given accessibility to advanced human-patient simulators, cadaver systems, computerized models, etc. Moreover, UMMC already has a sophisticated simulation center.

Contemporary options can be used repeatedly, thereby cutting cost. They improve proficiency and impart skills more relevant to human anatomy.

Nonhuman animals cannot sufficiently mimic the anatomy and physiology of human injury or disease. Indeed, variables from incision pressure and skin density to size, location, texture and elasticity of organs, blood vessels, airways…differ between pigs and people. Incongruence between species may mislead medical trainees with inaccurate data.

As of November 2011, some 96% of comparable U.S. instruction programs use simulators in place of pigs, cats, ferrets, dogs, goats and other animals. Please eliminate live animals from UMMC physiology labs and all training curricula. Animal experimentation is substandard and innately cruel.

Thank you,

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James Keeton, M.D.
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Dean of the School of Medicine

University of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
ph: 601-984-1010
fax: 601-984-1013
spacer Daniel W. Jones. M.D.

University of Mississippi Medical Center
Lyceum 123
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
ph: 662-915-7111
fax: 662-915-5935

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