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High-tech Manikin Helps Train EMTs

The patient on the stretcher Wednesday morning gulped for air and gasped, "I can't breathe," as a medical crew secured an airway for him and checked his pulse.

His eyes were closed and blinked open when it was done.

But the man was never in any actual danger because this was a practice run. And because he's a manikin.
The Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority recently awarded the University of New Haven a $75,000 grant to purchase the manikin and a video recording system to tape and review training sessions.

The equipment was demonstrated Wednesday at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where UNH students in a paramedic program attend training. Y-NH is the program's sponsor hospital.

The new $50,000 anatomically correct model can also bleed, make nasal secretions, urinate, drool and vomit.

"Our students want to give back to the community, and by their giving back, we all benefit. So we want to provide them with the best training possible," said Mario Gaboury, interim provost and dean of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at UNH.

Y-NH oversees emergency medical service in the area and holds classes for UNH paramedic students and others from around the state. The class is an elective for students in UNH fire science, criminal justice and public safety programs.
CHEFA uses revenue to provide grants like the one given to UNH, said Jeffrey Asher, executive director.

The manikin, which is 6 feet tall and about 120 pounds, replaces dummies that paramedic, emergency medical technician and CPR classes typically use. Many training facilities still use them though because of the cost of the special manikin, called METIman, and produced by CAE Health Care, said David Tauber, education coordinator for the hospital.

The manikin can have heart and breathing issues, and his pupils can react to light. A bleed can be controlled with direct pressure or a tourniquet, and a heart problem can be treated with a defibrillator, according to Tauber.

"It shortens learning time and improves their depth of learning and understanding," he added.

An instructor uses a tablet computer and special software to control the high-tech manikin, which allows the teacher to be in another room and leave students to figure out medical scenarios on their own. The software can also tell the manikin when to say certain phrases.

The $25,000 recording system allows the educator to watch student performance from the another room and play it back for lessons and evaluations.

David Cone, professor of emergency medicine and chief of EMS at Yale, said paramedic students often practice on each other when lessons go beyond what older-style dummies can do. Cone said having the new technology "makes a huge difference."

UNH students and instructor Peter Struble, who is also the Wallingford fire chief, demonstrated how the manikin responds to treatment on a stretcher in the back of a donated ambulance inside the training room. Students said they appreciated how lifelike the manikin is.

"When you're training, you want to make it as realistic and difficult as possible," said UNH student Bobby Rousseau, who served in the military in Iraq. "So when the real life situation occurs, it's a walk in the park and you know exactly what to do."



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