State-of-the-art patient simulators bring innovation to MUHC training

A simulation of a baby as a patient is used in training at the MUHC

It cries, gets the hiccups and even has a pulse, but this newborn baby isn't real, it's part of a state-of-the-art patient simulation program at the McGill University Hospital Centre.

Montreal firm CAE donated $500,000 to the MUHC Foundation for the high-tech training equipment, including the simulated patients.

While CAE might be better known for flight simulators used for pilot training, it also has a health care division, and builds training tools like dummies used by hospital staff to diagnose, but also to practice various medical procedures.

"We are transforming the way we teach using simulation as well as virtual and augmented reality, and AI-enhanced technologies to elevate lifesaving skills and teamwork," said Dr. Elene Khalil, the director of education at the MUHC.

The goal is to improve patient safety through simulation-based training, added Suzanne Legge Orr of the MUHC Foundation.

"Our hospital, our patients, and our community are going to be the first to see the impact," Legge Orr said.

The dummy used for deliveries is strikingly realistic. The mother breathes hard during childbirth, her ribcage lifts, her pulse increases, as does her heartbeat.

She eventually gives birth vaginally to a "baby." Every part of the procedure is controlled by computers that can program a host of problems that can arise during childbirth, such as respiratory distress, forcing doctors and nurses to respond accordingly. 

The computer will then provide a report on the actions taken, indicating whether other gestures could have been made. The "baby" can also be programmed so that his shoulders are positioned to make delivery more difficult.

 - With a report from The Canadian Press


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