How hi-tech medical mannequins prepare doctors to save lives

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The idea is simple: practice makes perfect.

Doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals in the Medical Center are training for any medical scenario imaginable with the use of hi-tech mannequins. But how true to life are they, and what are the benefits?

The main goal is to save lives and the doctor leading the way is Dr. Jennifer Arnold.

"When you're in a crisis, you have to learn how to work as a team," she said.

Arnold is the medical director of the Simulation Center at Texas Children's Hospital. The SIM program allows medical personnel to train for a multitude of scenarios. She says it's here where mistakes are welcome.

"So the whole purpose of simulation is to make as many mistakes as you can, and then debrief and learn from them because every mistake you learn from here, is one you're going to prevent in the real world," Arnold said.

The mother and infant mannequins they're using are extremely life-like, simulating vitals, including breathing and pulse rates.

"They can intubate putting a breathing tube in. They can get access," Arnold explained. "They can even do surgery and do a C-section as you see here. They can provide a full resuscitation and CPR, give medications, give fluids like they really would in a real situation, and get feedback from that mannequin."

Chief of Service in Anesthesiology, Doctor B. Wycke Baker told ABC13 these simulations are allowing team members to train for situations they might have not experienced yet in real life.

"There are certain scenarios that don't happen very often because of low frequency. But when they happen they're very high impact," Baker said. "So we had to resuscitate mother and deliver baby rapidly. So my role in that was the anesthesiologist, assuming care of her resuscitation, and basic and advanced cardiac life support and resuscitate her baby as well."

After every simulation, the team goes over what worked and where improvements are needed.

Arnold said, "The debriefing, it is critical for learning. We're talking about the things that went well so they can continue to do them. Were also talking about the things that didn't go well so they can learn things for improvement on future clinical cases."

During Thursday's session, SIM lasted roughly 15 minutes.

That's 15 intense minutes today, to save lives tomorrow.
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