Simulators are changing the way doctors are trained

Jerome Groopman in The New Yorker:

Four students in their third year at Harvard Medical School recently met a patient named Mr. Martin. The students’ mentors, two physicians, told them that Martin had come to the emergency room complaining of abdominal pain that had grown steadily worse over several days.

Martin was lying on a stretcher, moaning. A monitor next to the stretcher indicated that his blood pressure was dangerously low—eighty over fifty-four—and his heart was racing at a hundred and eighteen beats per minute. An X-ray mounted on a light box on the wall showed loops of distended bowel, called an ileus. The intestine can swell like this when it is obstructed or inflamed.

“It hurts!” Martin cried as the students reviewed his chart. “They told me you’d give me something for the pain.”

…Fortunately, Martin is not a real patient but a mannequin, an electronic instructional device known in medicine as a simulator.

More here.