The Critical Care Education Center, under the direction of Scott Lorin, M.D., is the most modern and advanced teaching center for critical care in the region. It utilizes the newest version of the METI (Medical Education Technologies, Inc.) Human Patient Simulator (HPS) as the centerpiece teaching tool. The HPS can be manipulated to create multiple scenarios of acutely ill patients under real circumstances. The Mount Sinai fourth-year medical students, internal medicine residents, and pulmonary and critical care fellows are all trained in the center as a standard part of the educational curriculum.
The Human Patient Simulator is a computer-model-driven, life-sized mannequin that delivers true-to-life scenarios. The HPS breathes, has a heartbeat and pulse, blinks and includes sophisticated modeling of physiology and pharmacology, enabling it to mimic accurately many human responses to such procedures as CPR, intravenous medications, intubation, ventilation, and catheterization. The trainee then learns to care for patients by simulating a clinical operation.
The pulmonary system on the HPS is self-regulating. Air movement in the lungs makes gas exchange possible. On inspiration, a gas analyzer determines what the mannequin is breathing (air, O2, or an anesthetic). Based on the body's requirements, the lung system automatically adjusts the respiratory rate and tidal volume. Breath sounds are auscultated by standard stethoscopes in several locations to detect abnormalities, such as wheezes or crackles. Sound is correlated to lung movement, so the absence of sounds in one or both lungs is diagnostic.
The HPS has been validated under numerous varying scenarios to be a superior performance evaluation tool for live, simulated management of critically ill patients. A number of critical care techniques can be taught using the anatomically correct airway, including how to provide oxygen, intubate, and connect to life support systems, like a mechanical ventilator. It can quickly be manipulated to replicate any type and severity of illness in adult patients that might be found on a medical ward or in an intensive care unit, including the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma exacerbation. The HPS provides a low-stress opportunity for trainees to become familiar with ventilators without the challenge of placing the patient at risk or compromising patient safety.
Our center is fully functional for all of these real-time scenarios, including connections to a mechanical ventilator, defibrillator, suction, and all the necessary tools to deal with the complexities of a critically ill patient. We simulate emergent scenarios that may occur on a typical medicine ward, telemetry unit, or an ICU.