Surgical Sam Helps Train Boston Children’s Hospital Surgeons


By Jon Christian
Globe Correspondent

In an operating theater deep in Boston Children’s Hospital, surrounded by state-of-the-art medical equipment, a surgical team is on the brink of losing a young patient. Their goal was to locate and repair a perforation in the bowel, but something’s gone wrong: The liver is bleeding uncontrollably, and if they can’t staunch the source, the patient’s chances are grim.
Someone calls a code blue, indicating cardiac arrest, and a crash cart appears as a heart monitor reaches a fever pitch. And then, just as suddenly, Dr. Peter Weinstock interrupts and a startling calm replaces the crisis atmosphere.

“OK, guys, we’re going to pause right now,” Weinstock called out to the surgical team. “We’re going to head back to do our last debriefing.”

Weinstock is director of Boston Children Hospital’s Simulator Program, and his current “baby’’ on the operating table is a sophisticated medical mannequin that provides surgical teams with an immersive training environment.

The child-sized mannequin is named Surgical Sam. Under its skin, which surgeons cut into with real scalpels, are facsimile bones, organs, and fluids made from plastic and other synthetic materials that approximate human tissues and liquids. Like a real child, Sam breathes and has a heartbeat, and, if you nick an artery, bleeds synthetic red blood. ►link to full article.

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