Under pressure, OHSU was forced to reevaluate its use of animals. OHSU finally came to the conclusion that, indeed, there is no need to use animals in medical student training.
Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has long used animals in teaching laboratories for medical students. In these sessions, medical students place catheters in the arteries and veins of live animals, block the animalsí arteries, and inject them with drugs. Students then open the animalsí chest cavities to expose the hearts. Afterward, they are all killed.
As you can imagine, this laboratory was very controversial. Many students had no desire to kill their first "patient." And as many other medical schools switched to nonanimal teaching methods, students at OHSU could see less and less reason for this sort of deadly laboratory exercise continuing at their school.
We worked long and hard to stop it. At first, the school simply switched from using dogs to using live pigs, hoping to quell objections. But we kept up the pressure, working with the university, but also pushing the media with a billboard in downtown Portland, a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a demonstration outside the school of medicine. Under pressure, OHSU was forced to reevaluate its use of animals. OHSU finally came to the conclusion that, indeed, there is no need to use animals in medical student training.
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