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Date with a dummy

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Aside from the fact his skin is rather pale, dressed up, the dummy could look like the guy next door. He is tall and medium-built. He can sweat, moan, cry, bleed and go into cardiac arrest. He can be “manipulated” to have a myriad of medical symptoms.
I really like him because he is the dummy the physicians and other medical professionals work on to perfect or learn new medical procedures BEFORE they have to perform the real procedure on me or any of my family or friends.
Seeing the dummy up close and understanding how technically advanced he is, truly puts into perspective the incredible work Health Sciences North’s (HSN) Simulation Lab is doing.
The lab promotes high quality educational activities across all health occupations including nursing, respiratory therapy, paramedics, physicians and other health care practitioners.
The dummy – it is really a highly-sophisticated, state-of-the-art mannequin – is one of a stable of innovative mannequins that includes a newborn baby, a six-year-old, a birthing mom and two other adults. Some of the mannequins are considered high fidelity and their reactions to medical emergencies are more human-like than would seem possible.
For example, the birthing mom can actually be programmed to “give birth” producing a baby mannequin that can also be programmed to present with many types of medical conditions. Medical learners get to experience how to deal with these medical occurrences in real time under real conditions.
The simulation occurs in a working operating room where the entire procedure is duplicated exactly as it would be in a real medical crisis.
Sometimes, the learners get so wrapped up in the simulation, that they forget they are working on mannequins, especially when there is crying and moaning involved, says Suzanne Lortie-Carlyle, manager of the Simulation Lab.
Babies can even be “born” with a lack of oxygen, with blue lips, and without vital signs. The response by the medical team is intensive and concentrated, just as you would find in a life-and-death situation, she says.
Outside the operating rooms are control stations where sophisticated computers, and trained operators and physicians capture the action. A discussion is held afterward to dissect the medical condition of the patient and how the team responded to the emergency.
The theory is if they can perfect or learn how to perform medical procedures on the mannequins, it will positively affect patient outcomes.
That is obvious when looking at how unbelievably “real” these learning simulations are. The mannequins are fitted with wigs, clothes and injuries, masterfully duplicated through the ingenious use of make-up, organs and body parts that can be ripped apart then sutured back together.
It is truly inspiring and comforting to know this facility is helping to train health care professionals before they go into an operating room and this is going to help so many of us in our lifetime.
And it’s comforting to know my new friend, the dummy, can withstand many, many simulating experiences on our behalf during his “lifetime.”

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