PCRM Brings Modern Combat Trauma Training to Capitol Hill
The patient underwent a chest tube insertion, hemorrhage clamping, and various surgical incisions. Seconds later, he stood up—still covered in blood—and was talking and walking around.
This may sound like a radical new “no-recovery-needed” way of treating severely injured patients. But it is actually a simulation system for training medical personnel to treat trauma injuries. The Cut Suit, a surgical simulator training device worn by an actor, is just one of the simulators that was presented at a briefing PCRM organized on Capitol Hill in March to educate Congress about alternatives to using animals in military medical training.
Although high-tech alternatives are widely available, some military institutions continue to instruct trainees to practice procedures on unconscious animals. Instructors and students cut into the legs and throats of unconscious pigs and goats and insert plastic tubes and needles into their chests and abdomens. After the courses, the animals are killed.
At the Hill briefing, members of Congress and Hill staffers watched as representatives from the companies that developed the Cut Suit and other groundbreaking training devices demonstrated how their products can improve the military’s care of wounded service members. These devices feature lifelike skin, anatomically correct organs, breakable bones, and realistic blood flow.
The Cut Suit was specifically designed for combat trauma training courses, replicating a living trauma patient. Body armor and a uniform can be worn by the patient actor and trainees can apply tourniquets, control severe bleeding, and manage collapsed lungs.
The BEST Practices Act, a bill to replace the use of animals in military trauma training with these nonanimal methods, now has 50 supporters in the U.S. House of Representatives.