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University of Iowa News Release

June 9, 2005

Advanced Infant Simulator Arrives, Will Enhance Training

The newest bundle of joy to arrive at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City cries, blinks and wets like a typical baby. What makes it unique is its ability to train health care professionals in the care of seriously ill infants.

BabySIM is the world's first interactive infant simulator that combines lifelike human physiological characteristics with software models that enable it to independently recognize and respond to medical treatment and drugs. This capability allows students to perfect the most critical infant care tasks through continual, realistic exercises in a risk-free environment.

The new BabySIM technology in the Patient Simulation Center in the UI Department of Anesthesia is the first to be fully installed and functioning in a teaching hospital in the United States. Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI) is delivering BabySim systems to 17 medical institutions across the United States, Japan and Europe.

"Providing anesthesia to a sick infant is a challenging task at the best of times," said Suhas Kalghatgi, M.D., UI assistant professor (clinical) of anesthesia and director of the Patient Simulation Center. "BabySim allows us to present these challenging scenarios in a realistic manner to our residents and medical students, outside the operating room environment. The training can be accomplished without causing potential harm to a patient."

Among its lifelike features, BabySIM cries, urinates, has lifelike pulses, heart functions and sounds, has eyes that dilate and blink, and can be either a boy or a girl.

Run from a laptop computer, software controls these lifelike functions so that BabySIM (and all METI patient simulators) can accurately and independently recognize and respond to medical treatment and drugs administered by the trainee without manipulation by an instructor once a medical scenario has begun. BabySIM is capable of manifesting a host of possible human conditions and emergency medical scenarios encountered in the operating room.

During emergency exercises, instructors can intervene and "throw a curve ball" to create realistic critical situations that challenge would-be lifesavers. If the students' actions are correct, BabySIM will survive. Alternately, a wrong decision and administering an incorrect medication can send the simulated patient into cardiac arrest and perhaps even place BabySim's "life" in jeopardy. 

Children's Hospital of Iowa at UI Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City is the state's longest-serving children's hospital. More than 130,000 children receive care at Children's Hospital of Iowa and its statewide network of outreach clinics each year.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

CONTACTS: Media: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu; Program: Brian Bailey, 718-274-2651