DOCTORS and nurses in the Lothians have welcomed a member with a difference to their lifesaving team – the Sim Man.
The £30,000 state-of-the-art mannequin, whose home is a specially designed £70,000 suite, is set to revolutionise the way emergency training is delivered to junior doctors, medical students and theatre staff.
The Sim Man can be programmed to display the symptoms of almost any medical condition, including heart attacks, kidney failure, major post-operative bleeding, diabetic comas and rare infections.
Inexperienced medics will be expected to treat the Sim Man just as if he was a living patient – including checking his pulse, breathing and how dilated his pupils are.
They will also be able to take blood samples, send them for analysis and give him injections, offering vital practice in keeping their nerve in a medical emergency.
Dr Rob Waller, a consultant psychiatrist who is also NHS Lothian’s associate director for medical education, said the increased confidence and knowledge passed on by working on the Sim Man would save lives.
“Our final-year medical students and junior doctors have to make a quick transition from reading textbooks to lifesaving,” he said. “It often isn’t about what treatment to give – hopefully they’ll already know that.
“It’s about how they manage in a crisis and how they work as a team and little details like whether they remember to phone the lab and tell them to expect an urgent blood sample.
“It gives them exposure and training in emergencies that they don’t always find if they’re on a ward nine to five. These situations are too important to just hope they gain experience by chance.”
The Sim Man is to be officially unveiled today, with NHS Lothian non-executive director Dr Morag Bryce and West Lothian Council leader John McGinty set to cut the ribbon in the specialist simulation suite at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.
More sim men are on their way to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, the Western General and the Capital’s Medical School.
Previously, NHS Lothian only had far more primitive dummies to practice on, with students and staff having to travel to the Scottish Clinical Simulation Centre, in Larbert, near Falkirk, to work on a specimen as sophisticated as the Sim Man.
The treatment given to the Sim Man will also be filmed, with feedback offered by experienced doctors.
The mannequin can be programmed to act out hundreds of real-life medical scenarios. He will also be used to give medics practice in treating non-emergency but rare conditions.
Dr Waller added: “It is a marvellous resource and will make a real difference to patient care and patient safety. It has required a lot of planning and hard work over recent months and I am delighted to see it up and running.”