In a statement released Thursday, the University of Michigan Health System announced that it would no longer use live dogs in its Advanced Trauma Life Support course at the University’s Medical School.

The decision comes after the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine — a non-profit organization that promotes ethical research and experiment methods — heavily criticized UMHS for the practice and filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture arguing that Dr. Richard Burney, a Medical School professor, misled a University committee in order to use live animals in his course.

UMHS has now decided to use only simulated models for its training, like the TraumaMan System — an artificial human system that allows users to practice surgical procedures.

The UMHS statement released cited a recommendation from an internal committee as the reason for the change.

“The decision comes from a recommendation by the Health System’s Graduate Medical Education Committee after a review of simulators that can be used to train medical professionals in trauma procedures,” the statement said.

The statement also said UMHS carefully considers the educational benefit against the resources required when evaluating a project or course.

“In all of its educational endeavors, careful attention is given to matching the optimal learning tools and settings to trainees’ needs — including simulation methods through the Medical School’s advanced simulation center, where students, physicians-in-training and nurses learn using mannequins, computer-based simulations and virtual trainers,” the statement said.

UMHS officials declined further comment Friday when details about the policy change were sought.

Dr. John Pippin, a senior medical and research adviser for the PCRM, congratulated UMHS on its announcement.

“We are very pleased that U-M has conducted a careful review of teaching methods for their Advanced Trauma Life Support Program, and that simulators are replacing shelter dogs acquired through pound seizure,” he wrote in an e-mail Friday. “This is yet more confirmation that it is unnecessary to use and kill animals to teach trauma skills.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.