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Funds sought for high-tech mannequin

By Heather Latter, Staff writer
Fort Frances Times Ltd.

As a First Responder at Fort Frances High School, a team of students,
including Jerry Wu and Lyle Dolph, has been on the scene to assess
everything from chemical burns and drug overdoses to lacerations, bone
trauma, and seizures.
But while they’ve been trained to deal with these situations, most of
their education has come from textbooks rather than hands-on experience.
“It’s completely different when you get on the scene and are dealing
with a real person,” noted Wu, saying the equipment they currently use
to train with is outdated and cannot provide the level of realism needed
to properly prepare for different scenarios.


In order to provide the school’s First Responders with better training,
program co-ordinator and local paramedic John Beaton is seeking funds to
purchase a $58,000 simulator mannequin, which provides a realistic
educational environment with the latest technologies for innovation.
The mannequin, known as “METIman,” also would be used as a teaching tool
for the local P.A.R.T.Y. program, which focuses on empowering Grade 10
students to formulate effective decision-making and educate them to
think about injury prevention in their daily lives.
Beaton is hoping to acquire the funds through donations from community partners and grants.
To show community
partners all the things METIman can do, Zorlana Kaluzny of CAE, a
Canadian company offering cutting-edge learning tools, was at La
Verendrye Hospital here last week providing demonstrations with the
simulator mannequin.
“Our goal is provide a realistic tool for training to develop confidence and know how to react,” she noted.
“METIman is a high-tech computer that is programmable and looks and
reacts like a real person,” explained Beaton, noting it talks, has a
pulse, and even can simulate different kinds of trauma.
“What we have now just doesn’t cut it,” he stressed, referring to the
old, over-used CPR mannequin “Annie” that does not even have a lower
body and severely limits the visuals and sounds of what happens in a
trauma room.
“For example, right now if the First Responders had a situation where
someone was unconscious, they would be seeing it for the first time as
it was happening,” Beaton said.
But METIman would be able to accurately simulate an unconscious
individual and allow the First Responders to practise their skills,
which, in turn, builds confidence.
“It’s on-the-clock thinking,” said Dolph. “You just have to check the
scenario and do what you can—even if it’s the first time you’ve dealt
with a particular situation.
“If I was better prepared, I would feel more relaxed and not so nervous,” he added.
“You still get the job done, but it’s how comfortable you are in dealing with a situation,” echoed Wu.
Wu had a chance to try out METIman last week and feels students would learn a lot from the high-tech mannequin.
“It’s a really good visual of what a real trauma patient would have to go through,” he remarked.
“And because of the realism, it would provide a much bigger impact for the P.A.R.T.Y. program,”said Beaton.
METIman is wireless (powered by rechargeable batteries), with on-board
fluid, pneumatic, and electrical systems. It is built tough to withstand
a wide variety of real-life, indoor and outdoor learning environments.
It comes equipped with a user interface and touch screen capability that connects wirelessly to any computer network.
And it can be simulated for all kinds of different scenarios.
There also is a kit that provides a variety of realistic wounds that easily can be applied to the mannequin.
METIman features eyes that blink, as well as dilate and constrict, and
it is reactive to light. There is vocalization and speech—both male and
female sounds that can be programed to say phrases such as “I can’t
breathe,” along with coughing and wheezing noises.
As well, there is a wireless microphone that allows the instructor to interact with the students.
There is a realistic airway and students can practise intubating nasally
and orally. And they have the ability to use real defibrillation and
pacing on METIman.
The mannequin includes 14 pulse points, a variety of internal sounds, and a chest that rises and falls as it breathes.
Students also can realistically practise inserting IVs, taking blood
pressure, and doing chest compressions. There also is male and female
genitalia that can be catheterized and urinary output.
METIman’s neck has a full range of motion, so students can rehearse
mobilization, and limbs can be removed to demonstrate amputation.
“This is a piece of equipment for everyone to learn and use from,”
Beaton stressed, adding while it will be purchased for the First
Responders and P.A.R.T.Y. programs, there will be the opportunity for
others to rent it out for training purposes.
“It’s going to be used, and it will be a big benefit for the students, the school, and community,” he remarked.
Beaton already has received donations from TD, the local Legion, and the
Fort Frances Kiwanis Club. Other organizations also are being
approached.
As well, Beaton has applied for several grants, and hopes other
individuals and businesses within the community will make a
contribution.
He anticipates being able to acquire the funds to purchase METIman in the fall.
For more information, contact Beaton via e-mail at partyprogramfortfrances@hotmail.com

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