SMART Centre

SMART Centre

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Naren Bhimsan, Manager – Simulator Lab

Everybody’s first encounter with Stan (short for Standard Man) is the same, no matter is they are scholars, doctors, nurses, medical students, anaesthesiologists or technologists. First chance they get they try to kill him.

Stan’s a dummy — and one sophisticated dummy at that. From his resting place on an operating table at IALCH, Dept of Anaesthetics, the *R 1,8 million mass of plastic, metal, wire and circuit board spends his days crashing into all manner of medical trauma: heart attacks, asthma attacks, blocked airways, collapsed lungs.*(current replacement value) 

Human patient simulators like Stan, represent the latest in the state of the art simulation technology to train medical personal at all levels of medical education without risk to patients, to cut mistakes by professionals and, when errors happen, to find out why. Sophisticated mathematical models of human physiology and pharmacology determine automatically the patient’s response to user actions and interventions.

Students are shown how the dynamic coupling of the cardiovascular, pulmonary and pharmacological system in the physical embodiment of Stan allows for the complete characterization of an adult patient. Stan is connected to standard monitors used in the operating theatres and they function exactly as though it was a real patient 

The students want to see a ‘real’ dummy. They want to see the chest moving, feel for a pulse and CO2 coming out of his lungs. Stan’s lungs physically consume oxygen and produce CO2. 

Stan has blinking eyelids, pupils that dilate, an airway that opens and closes, and a pulse. He breathes and exchanges gases like human lungs. He actually passes urine as well and can become Stanette by simply changing the genitalia. One can inject drugs, drain fluid from his heart sac, intubate him and insert chest pumps. Stan’s name comes from his default setting — standard man — but he can become “Truck Driver”, a beer-swilling cardiac patient who smokes four packs a day. There is a program for “Soldier,” who has a gunshot wound. We can also change his condition on the fly to keep students off-balance. 

When we give Stan a “drug,” he reacts appropriately. Since Stan’s heart and lung functions are the most advanced, he’s become especially useful to anesthesiology students, who don’t have much room for error when they put human patients to sleep. He can be programmed to suffer a heart attack during an operation, an allergic reaction to a drug or an unusual side effect. 

Stan is already saving lives!! Please feel free to make an appointment with us so that we can walk you through an unforgettable experience. 

Naren Bhimsan 
Dept of Anaesthetics 
Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine 
University of KwaZulu Natal

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