The Key West Fire Department's medics had the opportunity to take a refresher course with a very special patient last week. Bill McGrath and Richard Gonzalez of the Southeaster Medical Academy and affiliated with Braxton College arrived with a patient simulator.
This high-tech training manikin does most things a living person would. Its eyes open and close, and the pupils dilate and respond to light. It breathes. It has a pulse. It groans with pain and can even go into a full seizure.
The trainer controls all of the symptoms via a nearby computer pad.
The training allowed the medics to work through various scenarios and see immediate and realistic results.
KWFD’s Medical Director Antonio Gandia worked closely with the medics, talking through their responses and the different symptoms that might clue them in on what's happening with an unconscious patient.
"We were excited to have our hands on that kind of training equipment," said Emergency Medical Services Chief Keith Hernandez. "The mannequin simulator is about as real as it can get for our medic students to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned thus far."
According to instructor Gonzalez, the academy also has a preemie baby, a toddler, a child, and a pregnant woman simulation. These will allow the medics to apply what they know in different scenarios, including a woman giving birth.
The trainers also brought a virtual reality simulator that allowed the medics to explore various scenarios.
"We are thrilled to have access to this kind of training," said Fire Chief Alan Averette. "We want to do everything we can to ensure that the Key West Fire Department provides the best care possible to our community.