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spacer NOVEMBER 2011
WINS! Animal-Free Trauma Training Far Exceeds Live-Animal Labs


Thanks to the diligence of Kinship Circle activists, with Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine leading the way — trauma training has a new face — and she isn’t furry or cuddly.

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As of 11/17/11, just 5 Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) programs in the U.S. and Canada use live animals, compared to 259 with human simulators in place of cats, ferrets, dogs, goats, pigs and other animals. PCRM’s ongoing tally shows 96% of U.S. ATLS coursework favors human-patient simulators such as TraumaMan System, for imparting skills students can actually apply to humans.

Kinship Circle regularly does campaigns to medical schools that still use animals instead of human-focused models. Anatomical simulators, human cadavers and real life hospital rotations cut costs and improve proficiency. They allow for more in-depth feedback and assessment of student performance, while reducing dropout rates.

Dr. Emad Aboud, co-inventor of a system that pumps specially dyed water into human cadaver vessels and arteries, says animal-free models are cheaper and more accurate. "This is the perfect alternative to the use of live animals in surgical training," claims Aboud, a neurosurgeon fellow at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Massachusetts General Hospital joins the animal-free list with its termination of surgical training on live sheep. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) seems to have folded under pressure of a PCRM legal complaint with the federal government, citing live animal use as an Animal Welfare Act violation. As reported in PCRM’s June 2011 newsletter, the course director confirmed UPMC’s upgrade to animal-free simulators to Ronald Banner, M.D., a PCRM-affiliated doctor from Pennsylvania.

ATLS courses prep trainees to handle acute trauma injuries. Prior to 2001 — when the American College of Surgeons (ACS) officially endorsed Simulab’s TraumaMan — nearly all lab exercises involved live animals. Students used animals for: cricothyroidotomy (neck incision to alleviate blocked airway); pericardiocentesis (fluid removal from sac that encases heart); and chest tube insertion (drainage of blood, fluid or air to facilitate lung expansion).
SOURCE: Background On ATLS

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