Target: Dean of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dr. Larry J. Shapiro, M.D.
Goal: Stop the use of live cats as training tools in the pediatrics course being run at Washington University in St. Louis
Cats are being used as the live test subjects for medical students in a pediatrics course at Washington University in St. Louis. The cats are subjected to a painful procedure conducted by unskilled medical students. WUSL is the last school to be using cats in their training program, as most other medical facilities have upgraded to using infant simulators.
Even though the infant simulators are supposed to be a better training tool, WUSL still has trainees use cats. During the procedure, students force plastic tubes down the cats windpipes in order to learn how to insert medical tubes into human infants. These trainees are unskilled, and they have to struggle with the tubes before finally being able to stick them all the way down the animal’s throat. It has also been reported that the students handle their metal instruments in such a way that could break the cat’s teeth. Even though the cats are anesthetized at the beginning of the procedure, it is not uncommon for the cat to wake up in the middle of it, and that experience causes extreme psychological distress, not to mention physical pain.
Animals are only supposed to go through the procedure five times per session, because any extra procedures will cause the animal a lot of pain. It has been reported that for each session, every cat is forced to be intubated 15 times. The resident veterinarian at the school said that there have been instances in which cats’ windpipes are injured, which can lead to bleeding, scarring, collapsed lungs, and in extreme cases, death.
Infant simulators have been proven to be a better option for teaching how to intubate human infants. Demand that Washington University at St. Louis stop testing on cats, and use more advanced and humane technology instead.
Dear Dr. Shapiro
The use of animals for scientific and medical testing is becoming less and less popular. Countries around the world are banning the practice, and it is looked down upon by many people. Washington University at St. Louis is reportedly the last school using live cats for their Pediatric Advanced Life Support course. This is an out-dated practice and is unacceptable.
New technology has proven to be much more effective: the life-like infant simulators used at most other medical facilities are proven to be superior. The greatest benefit of using a simulator, however, would be that no animals would have to endure any more painful procedures. At the moment, these cats are being traumatized and possibly injured even though there is a viable option available. It is imperative that WUSL switches to the infant simulator, and stops harming animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Thai Jasmine (Smile..Smile…Smile..) via Flickr