Life-like mannequin helps paramedics train for real life emergencies

"SimMan" on a stretcher

There's a new member of the Ada County Paramedics team, and he's not exactly a looker.

This simulation mannequin is helping to train new hires and keep medics current with their continuing education at Ada County Paramedics by allowing them to practice saving anyone encountering a life-threatening medical issue.

"It's going to help test paramedics to get hired with us so that we can ensure we’re hiring the best of the best," said Cody Porter, Ada County Paramedics training captain. "It will also help with continuing education with our paramedics, which we do constantly just like any other medical care provider."

The "SimMan" can physically imitate life-threatening situations, such as going into cardiac arrest. In that case, trainees may use a defibrillator to bring him back to life. He can also stop breathing and lose his pulses, giving medics the opportunity to practice resuscitating him, just like they would a normal person.

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"Being able to utilize this manikin is very beneficial," said Porter. "It's extremely realistic and it's about the only way we can mimic some of these really sick patients."

"SimMan" also has different pre-programmed sounds, imitating any variety of medical emergencies paramedics may encounter. He can mimic the sounds made when vomiting and moaning.

"If we want further than that, we can actually plug a microphone in and just talk through the manikin, through the microphone, so you're actually interviewing the manikin" said Porter. "So if you're talking about shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, or any of those things, you can get the answers from the manikin himself."

Once a trainee has mastered how to save "SimMan,” their skills are put to the test in a room with one-way glass. Trainees can care for and tend to SimMan’s ailments while a panel of instructors on the other side of the glass critique the skills in action.

"They're able to talk about it and make sure that whoever is in here testing, whether it be a new hire paramedic or any of our trainees, we can ensure that they're at the level of care we expect them to be," said Porter. "We really focus on a very lengthy and thorough process to make sure that paramedics are confident in their care, they have all the proper skills and proper training to go to out and help the community on their own."

Porter says that utilizing "SimMan" in training with paramedics raises the level of care they'll be able to deliver to community members.

"When a paramedic arrives at your door step, feel very confident and rest assured that they are one of the most highly trained paramedics in the area," said Porter.

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