$9m do­na­tion for dum­mies

The Timaru Herald - - NATIONAL NEWS - Ni­cole Law­ton

Star­ship chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal will be rolling out a fleet of ul­tra­l­ife­like manikins to train health pro­fes­sion­als na­tion-wide thanks to its largest-ever do­na­tion.

The manikins can cry, scream, have seizures and go into car­diac ar­rest – sim­u­lat­ing real emer­gen­cies and of­fer­ing med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als in­valu­able train­ing.

The pro­gramme will be bankrolled by a $9 mil­lion do­na­tion from the Dou­glas Char­i­ta­ble Trust, which was of­fi­cially re­ceived yes­ter­day.

Star­ship Foun­da­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Aisha Daji Punga said the do­na­tion was un­prece­dented.

The six dum­mies rep­re­sent chil­dren rang­ing in age from a new­born baby to a 14-year-old.

On Tues­day, Star­ship doc­tors put one of the manikins, a ‘‘7-year-old boy named Tom’’, to the test. The manikin was con­fig­ured to rep­re­sent him hav­ing been hit by a car, and he had a shat­tered left fe­mur and a bad knock to the head.

Re­motely con­trolled from a com­puter tablet nearby, his body re­acted to treat­ment with un­nerv­ing re­al­ism. He groaned in pain and his heart rate in­creased.

Over about 30 min­utes, ‘‘Tom’’ was in­tu­bated, given a blood trans­fu­sion and mor­phine.

Tr­ish Wood, the sim­u­la­tion pro­gramme man­ager, said the train­ing was vi­tal prac­tice for real emer­gen­cies.

‘‘He’s a high-fidelity manikin, so he has a voice, pulse and chest wall move­ments so it looks like he’s breath­ing. That re­ally helps our teams to sus­pend dis­be­lief and en­gage with Tom as if he was a real pa­tient.’’

The $9m do­na­tion meant the pro­gramme could be rolled out to DHBs across the na­tion, to ben­e­fit chil­dren all over New Zealand.

Dou­glas Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jeff Dou­glas said the do­na­tion came from a long-stand­ing ad­mi­ra­tion of the work done by the teams at Star­ship.

‘‘My par­ents have been long­time sup­port­ers; my late fa­ther in par­tic­u­lar would have fully en­dorsed and been de­lighted to fi­nan­cially back this re­mark­able ad­vance in tech­nol­ogy.’’

The Dou­glas fam­ily is a long­time sup­porter of Star­ship chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal, with a his­tory of giv­ing span­ning 23 years.

Punga said the Dou­glas fam­ily was ‘‘true phi­lan­thropists’’.

‘‘They have pro­vided an un­prece­dented legacy to Star­ship.

‘‘We can’t thank them enough for this truly ex­cep­tional gift and their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the health and well­be­ing of New Zealand’s chil­dren.’’

LAWRENCE SMITH/ STUFF

Spe­cial­ist A&E nurses at Auck­land’s Star­ship chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal per­form a sim­u­lated drill on an in­jured manikin as part of their train­ing in prepa­ra­tion for the real thing.

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