Medicine's Cutting Edge: $40K Baby Doll

SimBaby gurgles, breathes and even turns blue

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    If you watch closely, you can see the doll's chest rise and fall with each breath.

    It’s a critical moment in an emergency room, when a baby stops breathing.

    However, in this hospital room, the patient bounces back in seconds when hospital staffers simply push the reset button.

    Rady Children’s Hospital showed off its newest piece of training technology Thursday.

    Thanks to a donation from Fuerte Hills Unit of Rady Children's Auxiliary, doctors and nurses have access to a realistic simulator that looks a lot like a toy.

    SimBaby was developed by a company in Sweden and is on the cutting edge of simulation in medicine.

    “The doll is as life-like as it can be,” said Charles Sauer, DO, a Neonatologist at Rady Children’s Hospital.

    SimBaby gurgles, breathes and even turns blue depending on how trainers manipulate the program.

    “We can collapse a lung and do all sorts of training with it,” Sauer adds. “That’s wonderful for our staff.

    Nurses and doctors monitor SimBaby’s heartbeat, check blood pressure and can even practice placing IVs or inserting chest tubes on the tiny doll.

    Then, when trainees take the correct action, the doll cries signaling an end to the exercise.

    Before SimBaby came along, an instructor would holler out changes to a patient’s status during a simulation but ultimately, that’s not very realistic according to Sauer.

    The ability to change the situation in real-time as trainees are working on the patient is critical.

    “Here we have the most fragile babies that are sick and emergencies do come up and weneed staff to be ready,” Sauer said. 

    “The best way to be prepared is to put staffers through lots of training.”

    At a price tag of $40,000, not every hospital can afford this latest technology so one of the hospital’s goals is to share SimBaby with other hospitals in the region through an outreach training program.

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