This fall, students who are enrolled in the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) training course at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) will no longer be practicing on live sheep.
The decision to end the use of sheep comes after a long campaign by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), along with support from other organizations, including Farm Sanctuary, physicians, activists and hospital employees that kicked off with a protest in 2009 calling for non-animal alternatives. Since then, over 38,000 emails were sent to hospital administrators opposing the practice.
The sheep used at MGH were subjected to various invasive procedures “such as inserting a tube and needle into the animals’ chest cavities and cutting into their throats. After the training session, the animals are killed. The animals are also subjected to the trauma of confinement, shipping, and preparation for surgery.”
According to PCRM’s survey of 227 schools, only 9 still use live animals. The rest of the medical facilities in the U.S. and Canada offering trauma training programs use non-animal models like the TraumaMan System, Synman and human cadavers for these courses, including Harvard Medical School, Duke University, Yale University and the University of Michigan. These alternatives have also been approved by the American College of Surgeons.
With this success, attention is now being focused back on Baystate Medical Center, which is now one of the last schools in the U.S., and the only one in Massachusetts, to continue using live animals despite having their own TraumaMan System.
Send a letter to Baystate Medical Center’s president Mark Tolosky asking him to stop using live pigs in ATLS courses.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesrbowe/