Cats Suffer at University of Virginia Medical School in Training ProgramPublished May 22, 2012
Flickr User Zyada
Responding to this unnecessary abuse, the Facebook page, End the Suffering of the Cats at the University of Virginia Medical School was recently created. Its mission is to educate the public about UVA’s program involving cats and reach out to folks willing to take action to help put an end to this travesty.
According to an article on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's (PCRM) website, this cruel and inhumane practice is not only outdated, but is also violating the Federal Animal Welfare Act. PCRM has filed a complaint about this practice with the United States Department of Agriculture.
In the United States and Canada, 95 percent of pediatric residency programs are no longer using live animals in their training. They have been replaced with human-based simulations, an infinitely more effective method which eliminates the terrible suffering cats must endure. The cats repeatedly have residents shove breathing tubes down their throats. Incredibly, the cats must sometimes go through this procedure as many as 22 times in one day.
This “training method” is both outrageous and an unnecessary, painful procedure. It causes cats severe trauma, bleeding and tracheal bruising. Cats’ teeth are often broken and they also sustain many other serious injuries from which recovery is extremely difficult. Just the recovery period from tracheal intubation alone can be quite protracted. Since humans often experience excruciating pain following intubation, it’s not hard for animal lovers to imagine the torment and anguish cats suffer when they must unwillingly submit to the residents’ intubation training sessions.
Years ago, kittens, cats, rabbits and ferrets were commonly used in medical schools to teach students this procedure. While we cannot underestimate the importance of perfecting medical residents' skill in this life saving procedure, using animals whose anatomy vastly differs from human infants is no longer necessary.
These antiquated live animal model teaching methods have become obsolete and replaced with new technology that is not only more effective, but eliminates the need for the compassionless use of animals. With human-patient simulators and the availability of anatomically correct and realistic premature infant models, the majority of medical schools around the country have eliminated the practice of using live animals in their training. The infant model human patient simulator, which can be used over and over again, is so incredibly realistic that it can cry and even turn blue when lacking oxygen.
Hoping to convince the University of Virginia Medical School to abandon the practice of using live cats in their pediatric training, and joining with the 95 percent of institutions which have already done so, Roberta Gray, M.D., FAAP, who has over 25 years’ experience working in Pediatrics at Marshall University, Duke University, Carolinas Medical Center and East Carolina University, created a petition on Change.org
Please help by signing her petition which implores UOV to "do the right thing", and update their training methods.
What is your opinion about the use of live cats in the training of pediatric residents? Share with a comment.