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Carole Mikita ReportingA mannequin so lifelike he breathes, blinks his eyes and can speak, now poses the ultimate medical test. A team of doctors and nurses at Primary Children's Medical Center are hoping to pass that test.
George is a human patient simulator. The size of a real 6-year-old, today he was programmed with a blocked airway. A medical team had just minutes to fix the problem.
Pediatric critical care doctor Kathleen Ventre said, "He inhales oxygen and nitrogen, like we do, and exhales carbon dioxide, so that actual real life detection techniques, for proper airway instruments and so forth, can be rolled out in our laboratory, as they are in real life."
Usually doctors train with doctors, nurses with nurses, and so on. Here they experience true team learning.
Pediatric resident Beth Loh, M.D., says, "It's nice to be able to practice with it and see what everyone's role is, what a nurse would do, what a pharmacist would do, what a respiratory therapist would do."
The situation with George is extremely realistic. You can even hear him breathing, but it goes farther than that. He responds to questions from the medical team. His voice is courtesy of technical specialist David Fowers.
David also operates the cameras; three of them record the scenario. The team members sometimes forget they're there.
Life Flight nurse Donna Schell says, "You're treating it like it's a normal code on the floor, so you're not even thinking anymore that this isn't a real person."
Following the test, they review the videotape, to gauge how they worked as a team.
George is the only child-sized medical mannequin in the state. Doctors and nurses call him an invaluable training tool that makes them better. The human-patient simulation program has been underway for nearly a year. Primary Children's invites medical teams from around the state, who work with children, to use 'George' as a training tool.