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A closer look at Stanford's simulation technology

Most readers of today's San Francisco Chronicle likely turned right to the sports page (Go Giants!), but those who ventured to other sections were treated to a feature on the medical school's new building. Writer Kathryn Roethel, who attended the recent dedication, focused on the building's simulation center - one of the largest and most advanced in the world - and how it's being used to train students:

Supervising doctors can program specialized mannequin patients to breathe, cry, blink, bleed or sweat. They can have seizures, dilated pupils and blue lips. Their wrists, necks and groins have pulses, their chests have heartbeats and their lungs inflate and collapse.

Medical students can insert IVs into the mannequins' blood vessels, intubate their airways, or cut into their replaceable skin to perform surgery.

And, yes, the mannequin patients talk. They have speakers in their heads and under their bed pillows so that doctors, who are watching med students from the digital control center, can serve as the patients' voices, answering questions and describing symptoms.

In the piece, David Gaba, MD, associate dean for immersive and simulation-based learning, also explains how the simulation center enables students to be the "final decision makers in medical emergencies." That's a rare - and important - opportunity for doctors-to-be.

Previously: Mercury News highlights sophistication of med school's learning center, Philanthropist Li Ka-shing helps dedicate Stanford's new medical education building, Stanford building houses one of world's largest medical simulation facilities and A new era in education at Stanford's medical school

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