Ask Tulane University For Animal-Free Trauma Training
Pigs, like dogs and cats, are commonly used in surgical training and other experiments.
- Senior Vice President and Dean Tulane University School of Medicine
Benjamin P. Sachs, M.B.
Please permanently switch to validated non-animal systems for all Tulane University School of Medicine Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) classes. I urge you to join the 95% of U.S. facilities that exclusively use human-focused simulators to train students.
Instruction of acute trauma treatment for humans is better served by relevant non-animal modes. The American College of Surgeons endorses synthetic models such as TraumaMan System, SimMan, human cadavers, etc. TraumaMan's anatomical body facilitates practice of lifesaving skills and reduces trainee dropout rates. Yet Tulane has trainees cut apart anesthetized pigs who are killed when a lab concludes.
I understand Tulane's Center for Advanced Medical Simulation and Team Training already features several Trauma Man System units. With this state-of-the-art facility in place, I hope you will suspend further live animal labs. Currently, just 5% of U.S. institutions use old-fashioned animal models for ATLS courses. Tulane is still among them.
Overall, animal-free research cuts costs and improves proficiency. For example, a New England Journal of Medicine article highlights the "very detailed feedback and...more subtle measurement of trainee performance" gained from virtual reality simulators.
Dr. Emad Aboud -- co-inventor of a system that pumps specially dyed water into a human cadaver's 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.
If you haven't done so already, I encourage Tulane to update its trauma-management training. Killing animals is no longer viable, given the accessibility of capable non-animal technologies.
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