Advanced mannequins at UC help military & civilians

Feb 19, 2014

Critical care nurses are dividing their time between a dozen patients at the new UC Health Simulation Center but Lt. Col. Elena Schlenker has her eyes on one in particular.

“This patient is another blast injury,'' Schlenker said. "So he has bilateral amputations to his lower extremities. He’s obtained a chest wall trauma and he’s on a ventilator."

Across the room one of the patients calls out. He’s lost a leg and about to lose an arm. "Come help me,'' he cries out. "I’m bleeding so bad. Has the bleeding stopped?  Am I hit anywhere else?”

Trauma Tom is not a real person and the other medical mannequins aren’t real patients. But they’re very believable simulators and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars

These mannequins can be operated on, bleed, have respiratory or breathing problems, and have cardiac difficulties.

Directly behind the patients is a control room where instructors are surrounded by video monitors and closely watch what the emergency personnel are doing through ceiling cameras. They quickly make adjustments.

“The team is debriefed together and then individual debriefs kind of depend on the exact scenario-may require us to stop it to prevent further progression of the patient," Schlenker said.

The set-up can also be changed to simulate nighttime, flight medicine battlefield triage, and more. On this day people from Wright Patterson Air Force Base were checking it out. The center is a collaboration between the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the Air Force to train both military and civilian emergency personnel.

In the future simulators could be treating you. NASA is training robots to give emergency medical care in space.