Simulated learning improving patient care

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Medical professionals traditionally learn to save lives in actual life and death situations. While hands-on experiences is indispensable, medical educators say, just like pilots practice in simulators, so should doctors and nurses. Now, White Memorial Medical Center is using full-sized mannequins to put their staff to the test.

SimMom is on track for a routine delivery, and then all of a sudden, the baby gets stuck. In another instance, a simulated mannequin flat lined.

It's a drill, but for the team it feels like it's the real thing.

"It was like a near death scenario so we had to do what's called advanced cardiac life supports to try to bring him back to life," Dr. Juan Barrio of White Memorial Medical Center said.

It's the long-awaited debut of the Lyman Brewer Simulation Center at White Memorial Medical Center.

Life size interactive mannequins can breathe, talk, cry and give birth complete with simulated blood and fluids.

SimMom, Sim Man and Sim Baby can perspire and react just like humans do to various treatments. The staff can run thousands of different tricky situations. Afterwards, they review the video.

"It's really is about learning, it's not about pointing out what you did wrong but it's really about helping all of our clinicians get better at what they do and they can actually see themselves in action," Lynne Whaley, Chief Nurse Executive at White Memorial Medical Center, said.

The simulations are based on real cases, some of them rare and complicated. So the next time it happens, everyone will be prepared.

"In an emergency room, it can get really hectic. I mean, that's the key is to keep it calm and then to do the next indicated step, so you can resolve the issue as quickly as possible," Dr. Alicia Wenberg, an OGBYN resident, said.

Simulation centers are being used in medical schools and teaching hospitals. But more are turning up at hospitals in local communities, so that all patients can benefit from this type of training. The goal is to see more happy endings.

During most scenarios, the medical team isn't told what's going to happen. This simulation center was made possible through charitable fund raising. White Memorial's foundation raised a total of $1.7 million.

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