Victories for Animals in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Tennessee

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Victories for Animals in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Tennessee

[Ed. Note: Learn more about alternatives to abusing animals in medical training programs: Alternatives to Animal Testing.]

From Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
May 2011

Nationwide's use of cats required pediatrics residents to repeatedly force breathing tubes down cats' throats, causing tracheal bruising, bleeding, scarring, severe pain, and risking death. PCRM urged Nationwide faculty to replace the use of cats with human-based medical simulators—and they finally heard us.

According to our surveys, only nine ATLS programs in the United States and Canada and only 14 pediatrics residency programs in the United States still use animals. We won't rest until we bring these numbers down to zero!

I've just received word that after months—in one case, years—of hard work by PCRM and our members, animals will no longer be used in training programs at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Nationwide's use of cats required pediatrics residents to repeatedly force breathing tubes down cats' throats, causing tracheal bruising, bleeding, scarring, severe pain, and risking death. PCRM urged Nationwide faculty to replace the use of cats with human-based medical simulators—and they finally heard us.

PCRM's campaign at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine spanned almost three years. Our media outreach informed the local community that pigs were being used and killed in the school's Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses. And our action alerts generated such a strong response from supporters like you that Vanderbilt's IT department contacted us to say that its server was overwhelmed by the number of e-mails! Now we have learned that our perseverance has finally paid off.

Lastly, after an eight-month campaign, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) recently informed us that it has stopped using pigs in ATLS courses and now uses the TraumaMan System simulator, which is already used by more than 95 percent of ATLS programs. PCRM members sent more than 19,000 e-mails to UPMC—and it made a lifesaving difference!

According to our surveys, only nine ATLS programs in the United States and Canada and only 14 pediatrics residency programs in the United States still use animals. We won't rest until we bring these numbers down to zero!