Posted: Jan 16, 2013 4:34 PM by Mitch Bryan
Updated: Jan 16, 2013 6:46 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - Tonight, we bring you a behind the scenes look into how local doctors prepare for tense situations in the Emergency Room. I took a tour of Spohn Memorial's Simulation Lab, and how it is used to help young doctors hone the skills that they will need to save lives.
Welcome to the Simulation Lab at Spohn Memorial, but for these 1st year residents, it's the real deal.
"It replicates the environment when we get down in the Emergency Department. Each and every day we don't know what's going to come through the doors," said 1st year resident, Travis Newby.
Wednesday's patient is the SimMan 3g, a $100,000 robotic mannequin that bleeds, vomits, blinks and breathes. And they have lovingly named him, "Fred."
"There will be a case that is prepared for us. We have no idea what it is when we walk through the door," Newby said.
But the surprises don't stop there, Steven Butler is the man behind the curtain. His job is to not only pre-program the scenario, but to toss in surprises to see how the young doctors react.
I asked him, "Did you throw them any curve balls today that they weren't expecting?"
"Part of the hidden bleeding, I'll do that sometimes, I'll hide wounds," Steven replied.
With test scenarios like these, these doctors are able to discover problems that the EMTs didn't find out in the field. For instance, when they turned him over, they discovered that he had a laceration to his Brachial Artery.
It's the ability to make split-second decisions to changing situations that make a good doctor, a great one. And with their weekly tests in the Sim Lab, these doctors get to practice their craft, without worrying about losing a patient.
"Tuesday morning when I go to work, and I have that situation come in, now I know, I practiced it 3 times. I know exactly what to do, what should be happening and who I need to call," said Travis.
Then the simulation begins. Dr. Tom Mclaughlin reads out the test's scenario.
"He was stopped at a stop light, when a drunk driver swerved and ran into him. Hit him at approximately 55 miles per hour."
It's a scene these doctors see all too often. A drunk driver slams into another car and it's the innocent man that winds up in the hospital.
For the next few minutes, this is the Emergency Room, this robot, a real patient, and the risk, life or death. Even some of the scenario's details, themselves, are based on an actual car crash that the hospital has dealt with in the past.
"Hi, sir. I'm going to take care of you today, can you tell me your name?"
These young doctors get straight to work, making the patient comfortable and trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with him. Working as a team, they discover that the man's leg is broken and he is having some trouble breathing.
"Let's get a 100 of Lydocane, 20 of bartominate and a 100 of sucks," one of the doctors said.
So they get him off the back board and onto the table where they can begin to treat his obvious injuries.
But that's when SimLab Coordinator, Steve Butler throws a monkey wrench into the works. What the residents don't know is that the patient has begun bleeding on the inside and there's unknown bleeding coming from his arm. And as the sheets begin to turn red, the doctors figure it out and switch gears immediately.
"We have some internal bleeding, the surgeon is called?" (Voice): "The blood bank has arrived with your emergency release blood," called out one of the residents.
With having to make split-second reactions to ever-changing situations, these doctors get the best kind of training in the SimLab, hands on experience.
And with their quick thinking and teamwork, Fred survives until her can be taken into surgery where surgeons will stop his internal bleeding and patch up his severed artery. It will be a common sight for these young doctors in the days and nights ahead of them. But thanks to their training, they will be ready.
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