A patient lays on the ground, bleeding, breathing weaker, and heart rate dropping low. It’s up to medical personnel to stabilize him before it’s too late.
And cut! The simulation is over and a briefing is given on what went right and wrong. Luckily, the patient wasn’t human but a simulator “dummy” used to prepare the 633rd Medical Group Airmen on real-world scenarios.
“They blink, they breathe,” said Raymond Jernigan, 633rd MDG simulator operator. “Even the baby simulators have motion. They cry. I can program it to talk. They can be programmed to have physiological responses – I’ll set the vital signs.”
The training with simulators usually begins with a pre-brief from Jernigan, going over how to use the simulators and what they can do.
A lot of the simulators can be used as part of the certification training, such as the Laerdal SimNewB. These are the neonatal baby simulators that prepare the labor and delivery section on the neonatal resuscitation program. They can simulate breathing and be given vitals based on the specified training for which they are used.
The 633rd MDG education and training office also uses the simulators regularly for training.
“This allows us to do things that we couldn’t really do with humans,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Broadbent, 633rd MDG education and training noncommissioned officer in charge. “These really allow us to simulate injuries that we couldn’t otherwise do, so that’s a significant advantage when you’re talking about prepping people for combat situations.”
Based on the training, the simulators can be programmed to have specific vital signs. Jernigan can set the heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, etc. According to the numbers set, the students will do what they need to in order to stabilize the patient.
“They’re used to help bring realism to training,” Jernigan said. “From my understanding, they used to have animal testing or people testing on each other. This provides a body that you can use and get a reaction from in a less stressful environment. One thing about a simulator – you can’t kill it.”
The simulator can be used for a wide range of scenarios. It can be something as simple as treating a bee sting to a mock code blue, meaning the patient is having cardiac issues. With the training on the simulators, Airmen can better prepare themselves for real-world scenarios involving trauma, illness or administering life-saving skills.