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Simulation Center’s mannequins help cope with real-life emergencies

Through the use of mannequins on the cutting edge of technology, FAU has become a hub of advanced medical training activity.

The high-tech android-like mannequins are operated at FAU’s Simulation Training Facility, located in the Research Park on the north side of campus.

By providing realistic emergency medical scenarios, the FAU Simulation Center serves an important role in the local medical community.

“Our high-fidelity METI mannequin simulators display the actual physiological signs and symptoms of human patients affected by actual medical or trauma events,” says program director Mark Goldstein.

Far from dummies, these mannequins are wirelessly controlled by an advanced computer system that can simulate a limitless combination of medical conditions.

Their chests rise and fall as they actually inhale and exhale. They are capable of articulated motion in the spine, neck, arms and hips. Covered in lifelike skin molded from human models, the mannequins can sweat and secrete a number of bodily fluids. They even realistically bleed, and have a variable pulse.

The mannequins are manufactured by a Sarasota, Fla., corporation named METI. Medical Education Technologies Inc. was founded in 1996 with five employees, but the staff has grown to more than 250 with the company’s success in making many different medical training devices.

“Using mannequins is very similar to flight simulators,” according to instructor Lawrence Brickman, a surgeon. By utilizing the unique capabilities of the mannequins, advanced training and assessment courses take on a realistic, hands-on approach.

“Mannequins have become more popular among training of residents and professionals,” said anesthesiologist George Luck, who teaches at the center. “They are able to brush up on things they may be struggling with, or may not often be exposed to in their respective institutions.”

Partnering with 12 local hospitals associated with the HCA, the Simulation Center offers specialized training to nurses for emergency room and critical care settings. In addition, the center also provides training for the Medical Reserve Corps and city of Boca Raton emergency medical staff.

Every training session is recorded and reviewed in a debriefing session. The medical trainees are able to capture every moment of the session, much the same as a professional athlete reviewing game footage.

According to Goldstein, 95,000 patients died in America last year because of medical errors.

“That’s the equivalent of [passengers on] 300 Boeing 747s,” Goldstein said. “And 85 percent of those deaths were likely caused by communication errors.”



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