Kittens Get Reprieve from Medical Training
Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia (EMCP) was set to continue medical training by using live kittens for pediatric endotracheal intubation practice by residents. PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) has long been doing battle with medical schools on the subject of vivisection. In May of this year, they filed a complaint against EMCP, citing violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA.)
While societal attitudes about vivisection are changing, there are still some medical schools that teach students through the use of live animals. EMCP was one of them – until recently.
PCRM reached out to Animal ACTivests of Philly, a grassroots organization that organizes demonstrations on Philadelphia-area animal rights issues and advocates for animals wherever there is a need. A demonstration at EMCP was scheduled for Wednesday, August 15.
It has now been cancelled; the reason is good news. EMCP notified PCRM they have decided to stop the use of live kittens in pediatric endotracheal intubation residency training. “The victory came after PCRM announced that local physicians were going to join us for a public demonstration outside the hospital,” as stated on the PCRM website. Marianne Bessey from Animal ACTivists told me “I’ve found so often the threat of a demo is more effective than a demo itself!”
When live kittens are used for intubation practice, they sustain bruising and scarring to their trachea. Animals used for this purpose experience repeated attempts by residents and therefore are more at risk for errors, causing injuries.
How many times does the average family kitten undergo anesthesia necessitating endotracheal intubation in a lifetime? It’s reasonable to answer: hardly ever! To subject these otherwise healthy and normal kittens to unnecessary medical procedures is the definition of cruel and inhumane.
Most medical schools are now using simulators like “Premie Hal” for educating medical students and residents. Practicing on the simulator, animal advocates argue, is more educational than animals because the anatomy is not the same in different species. It is similar, but not identical. The following YouTube video shows how Premie Hal works.
PCRM has been successful in getting other medical schools to switch from using live animals in the training of their students. “The Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Virginia finally eliminated the use of animals in their medical school curricula,” according to their website. “Vanderbilt University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Texas at Houston joined Albert Einstein in Philadelphia in stopping the use of animals in pediatrics training.”
There are seven U.S. medical schools that still use live animals in teaching. Out of the 137 allopathic medical schools in the U.S. and 36 osteopathic U.S. schools, a total of 156 have stopped using live animals in their medical curricula. All 17 of Canadian allopathic schools do not use live animals in their training.
Isn’t it great to see success in the collaborative work of so many dedicated animal activists?
Photo credit: You as a Machine via Flickr