By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Albert Einstein Medical Center, in North Philadelphia, has stopped using animals to train its pediatrics residents how to insert a tube into an infant’s throat.
Einstein has made the change nearly two years after the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine began bugging it to do so.
Using anesthetized kittens or ferrets to simulate newborns for intubation practice is an outdated practice, says the committee’s Dr. John Pippin, who says there are now simulators which not only can’t feel pain but also better mimic the anatomy of a baby. Critics said the animals could suffer residual pain after the procedure.
“This is one of those situations where the ethics and the medical training come together,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “They both point exactly in the same direction. Einstein was the last of the eight pediatrics residency programs in Pennsylvania that was using animals to do this.”
Pippin says a magazine survey found that only one of the top 50 pediatrics hospitals still uses animals for this sort of training.
A statement from Einstein says it is discontinuing the use of animals to teach endotracheal intubation, and that no animals were harmed.