Stop Live Cat Labs At St. Louis Children's Hospital

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Originally Posted: 2 August 2009

Stop Live Cat Labs At St. Louis Children's Hospital

From Kinship Circle

To receive a formatted letter (word doc), email Kinship Circle to copy/paste into an email or print letter to fax or mail.


William "Clay" Claiborne Dunagan, MD, MS
Vice President, Center for Health Care Quality and Effectiveness
BJC Healthcare, Mail Stop 90-66-500
4444 Forest Park Avenue, Suite 500
St. Louis, MO 63108-2212
phone (314) 286-2170
fax (314) 286-2123

Joseph Gunn, MD, Medical Director, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Emergency Medicine, St. Louis Children's Hospital
1 Childrens Place
St. Louis, MO 63110-1002
phone (314) 454-6111, (314) 454-2341
fax: (314) 454-4345

Larry Shapiro, M.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs And Dean
Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8106
660 S. Euclid Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
phone (314) 362-6827

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SAMPLE LETTER. This letter is prepared to inform you about the issue. WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER using these talking points.

Dear Dr. Dunagan, Dr. Gunn, and Dean Shapiro:

I am surprised St. Louis Children's Hospital still relies upon live animal labs for its Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) curriculum. I respectfully urge you to replace the use of cats in intubation drills with synthetic models such as sophisticated simulators and manikins.

PALS course sponsor, the American Heart Association (AHA), doesn't require or promote animal use. Nonetheless, cats undergo multiple exercises in which plastic tubes are pushed through their windpipes. Students are encouraged to learn from their mistakes. But in this case, the "mistakes" are live cats who can bleed, swell and scar. Their lungs may collapse and improperly routed tubes can kill them.

Most PALS facilities nationwide now use human-focused models alone. Simulators yield data relevant to pediatric treatment because size and location of internal organs resemble human anatomy more precisely. Simulators also let trainees repeat procedures as often as necessary.

Animal-free learning tools cut overhead to confine, feed and destroy cats. A timely New England Journal of Medicine article highlights the "very detailed feedback and...more subtle measurement of trainee performance" gained from virtual reality simulators. The article summarizes: Inanimate models are "safe, reproducible, portable, readily available, and...cost-effective."

Please drop live animal exercises for the PALS course and any other airway instruction. Medical training is better served by applicable and humane non-animal technologies.

Thank you...


Ian Smith, M.A., Research Associate, Laboratory Investigations Division
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Help Cats Used In Training at St. Louis Children's Hospital

Internationally syndicated and animal-friendly cartoonist Dan Piraro created a comic for PETA in his own characteristic style that highlights the inadequacy of using live animals to teach medical professionals how to treat human infants.

Dan Piraro, Bizarro

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