Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity stops in­tu­ba­tion train­ing us­ing cats

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity in St. Louis said Mon­day that it has stopped us­ing se­dated cats to train med­i­cal stu­dents how to insert breath­ing tubes down ba­bies’ throats, ef­fec­tively end­ing the prac­tice in the US, ac­cord­ing to a med­i­cal ethics group.

The univer­sity’s School of Medicine said in a state­ment that after a “sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment” in its sim­u­la­tion cen­ter, it will now pro­vide neona­tal in­tu­ba­tion train­ing us­ing only man­nequins and ad­vanced sim­u­la­tors, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

The school said im­prove­ments in sim­u­la­tors made the change pos­si­ble. Cats cur­rently at the univer­sity are be­ing adopted by em­ploy­ees of the med­i­cal cen­ter. “In the 25plus years the univer­sity has re­lied on cats in teach­ing this pro­ce­dure, none was harmed dur­ing train­ing,” the state­ment read.

The Physi­cians Com­mit­tee for Re­spon­si­ble Medicine, a med­i­cal ethics non­profit, ap­plauded the de­ci­sion, say­ing the prac­tice was cruel to an­i­mals and un­nec­es­sary for stu­dents. The group said it was the last of the 198 US pe­di­atrics pro­grams still us­ing cats.

“The best way to teach emer­gency air­way in­ter­ven­tion is on hu­man-rel­e­vant train­ing meth­ods. I com­mend Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity for switch­ing to mod­ern meth­ods,” said Dr. John Pip­pin, direc­tor of aca­demic af­fairs for the Physi­cians Com­mit­tee.

Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity’s use of cats has drawn crit­i­cism in re­cent years, with crit­ics con­tend­ing that the an­i­mals suf­fer pain and in­juries rang­ing from cracked teeth to punc­tured lungs. Protests broke out in 2013 after an un­der­cover video of the univer­sity’s train­ing in pe­di­atric ad­vanced life sup­port was re­leased by Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals. The video shows a trainee putting tubes down the throat of a se­dated cat, some­times strug­gling to get it right. How­ever, the med­i­cal school continued us­ing se­dated cats in other train­ing pro­grams prior to Mon­day’ an­nounce­ment. —AP

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