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Group Files Complaint With Medical Command, Citing Lackland AFB for Likely Violating DOD Regulations and Ignoring Expert Recommendations
For Immediate Release:July 12, 2011
Contact:Robbyn Brooks 202-483-7382
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas — Last night, PETA and former members of the military Medical Corps, including a rear admiral who was commander of Naval Medical Center–Portsmouth and chief of pediatrics at the National Naval Medical Center–Bethesda, sent an urgent complaint to the U.S. Army Medical Command and the Air Force surgeon general urging them to end Lackland Air Force Base's cruel use of ferrets for teaching intubation skills to nurses and pediatric residents. This archaic practice continues even though superior and humane infant simulators are used instead of animals in most training programs across the country. The current complaint, which comes after more than a year of private efforts to resolve this issue, alleges that Lackland's animal intubation laboratory violates Joint Services Army Regulation 40-33, which requires that alternatives to the use of animals in training be used when available.
"During my service, I successfully performed intubations on patients and learned these skills on sophisticated humanlike manikins that are more realistic than training on animals, who have different anatomy," says former Navy Hospital corpsman Yance Freeman, who now works at PETA and cosigned the complaint. "We can and should save babies without hurting animals."
According to records obtained from Lackland, trainees force hard plastic tubes down the ferrets' delicate windpipes as many as six times each session in a procedure that can cause bleeding, swelling, pain, scarring, collapsed lungs, and even death. More than 90 percent of U.S. pediatric residency programs—including Lackland's neighbors at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio—use only modern infant simulators for intubation training. The Tripler Army Medical Center and the Naval Medical Center–San Diego have also confirmed that they do not use animals for intubation training in their pediatric residency programs.
Studies show that pediatric intubation training on simulators better prepares trainees to treat children than crude animal laboratories do. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Emergency Nurses Association both recommend only simulators for intubation training in their widely taught emergency courses.
For more information, visit PETA.org.
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