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CATEC students get hands experience using medical mannequin

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 5:49 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There’s a new kind of science teacher at Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) but not the kind you’d expect. It’s a life-like dummy called “Ares,” it’s a medical simulation mannequin, that has smart technology.

Ares has a pulse, can move its eyes, bleed and talk, like a real-life patient.

“This is going to allow us to have more realistic training because we can set blood pressure, pulse, and pupil changes that we can fake when students are playing the part,” Catherine Gardner, an EMT instructor at CATEC, said.

Ares’ vitals, which students can track in real time as they assess his injuries or illness, are a vital part of the school’s emergency medical training. Students are responsible for his survival, based on what kind of physical trauma the mannequin receives.

Gardner can control the mannequin from a computer, setting its temperature and heart rate, among other things.

One single mannequin is roughly $25,000. Gardner says purchasing the mannequin is part of a larger initiative to install realistic fire and emergency services trucks and spaces on CATEC’s campus.

“When they get out into the field and they’re seeing it for real, they know what to do and it’s just muscle memory. If they see it for the first time in the field, sometimes they can just freeze up,” Gardner said. “But if they’ve seen it in here, we’ve done simulations on it, they’ve been there, done that, they know what to do, it’s going to make them a much stronger provider once they get out into the field.”

Even though Ares isn’t a real person, Les Wikstrom, a CATEC student in the EMT program, said getting to practice on the mannequin is personal.

“My dad was a first responder, so I feel like after I come out with my EMT and EMR certifications, I’ll be able to help people that need help,” he said.

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