Hi-tech mannequin day helps prepare doctors for crises

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Hospital staff in Sheffield dealt with potentially life-threatening scenarios with the help of state-of-the-art child mannequins at a study day.

The models, called Sim Juniors, were bought by Sheffield Children’s Hospital to help paediatric theatre staff train for real-life emergencies, and the study day was the first time they were used.

The computer-operated mannequins simulate breathing and bleeding, and even speak to tell medics about their symptoms.

Staff training at the hospital’s clinical skills centre can practise a number of skills including clinical assessment, inserting tracheal tubes and giving drugs.

The team considered two possible cases - a child suffering from excessive blood loss, and a youngster having an acute asthma attack while anaesthetised.

Dr James Ellwood, consultant in paediatric anaesthesia, said: “Life threatening theatre emergencies are thankfully extremely rare. However, when they do happen, we need everyone involved to be trained to deal with them. The best way to ensure this is to practise.”

Grown-up sized models are also used at Sheffield’s adult hospitals, and the range of mannequins also includes lifelike babies and pregnant mums-to-be who ‘give birth’.

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust invested in the clinical skills centre to enable a variety of training exercises to be carried out by paediatric staff and trainees from both within the trust and across the region.