SimMan Sighting!

Hands-on Practice Made Possible for Paramedics in West Bend

Went Bend firefighters and paramedics work together inorder to save the life of the SimMan.

West Bend firefighters and paramedics were paged to Regner Park for a man who had gone into cardiac arrest. Emergency service personnel performed chest compressions and helped the man breathe until he was revived.

Their results were pretty good, considering the man had no heart.

West Bend's firefighters took on a surprise drill in Regner Park that allowed them to safetly practice their response to a cardiac arrest, thanks to Aurora Health Care's "SimMan" -- a dummy that is programmed to blink, breathe, have a pulse and even bleed. This the fist time first reponders in Washington County have been exposed to the training tool.

"A lot of nursing organizations use this in school... but it's never really been used in an EMS environment," said Rick Boeshaar. Aurora's EMS coordinator for Ozaukee/Sheboygan countris. "It's weird to me every time I look down at him, he's breathing and blinking".

Having a SimMan is a great asset for training because "a lot of our community EMS are all volunteers", Boeshaar said. That means that many of the county's first responders may not get to see a variety of medical emergencies or practice their responses on a regular basis. The SimMan can realistically mimic almost any medical emergency.

"We can put in different heart rhythms, different breathing patterns... I can change any parameter I want on him," Boeshaar said. "The fun one is always to make him vomit."

That might not be quite the function Aurora Health Care had in mind when they purchased the SimMan for use in Washington and Ozaukee countries. Aurora Medical Center in Washington County donated $15,000 from their physicians group to help fund the project. This particular SimMan Cost about $80,000, Boeshaar said.

It will receive plenty of use, though--Jackson firefighters trained with the dummy.

West Bend firefigthers and paramedics in Regners Park for SimMan drill.

Boeshaar programmed the SimMan to have a cardiac arrest. West Bend Fire Department Capt. and training officer Tom Thrash called in the emergency.

When firefighters arrived, Boeshaar's partner, Emergency Department Patient Care Manager Jacob Hart, acted as the SimMan's friend and provided first responders details about"Steve", when he had collapsed, and what medications Steve was taking.

EMS personnel sprang into action. One firefighter directed the action while others began chest compressions, started an I.V. and began to intubate the patient, or insert a tube into the wind pipe, to allow help him breathe.

"We call it "pit crew" type of medicine. Everybody has a job to do and they do it," Thrash said.

As the crew worked, Boeshaar could monitor their actions on a computer wirelessly connected with the SimMan. Every time the responders touched the dummy, the touch registered on Boeshaar's screen.

"They're actually going fast enough but not deeo enough", he said as he watched the computer analyze the crew's chest compressions. All of the responders actions were recorded by a webcam and saved to a computer so they could review their work later.

There was one snag when firefighter Dan Reisdorf accidentally inserted the intubation tube into the esophagus instead of the windpipe, but he quickly corrected himself.

"Apart from it being a little stiff, it was pretty realistic," Reisdorf said.

Hart was impressed by the crew's efficiency and coordination.

"They did a really good job. They had a clear leader who was able to delegate tasks." he said. "After seeing that, I feel safe clutching my chest in West Bend."

-- This story was from the West Bend Daily News.