PETA wrote to the St. John Health System in Detroit, Michigan, after receiving numerous complaints about its use of cats to teach endotracheal intubation (ETI) in pediatric advanced life support (PALS) classes. These classes were optional training for nurses and emergency-room physicians.
We informed St. John Health System that there are humane alternatives to practicing ETI that don’t use animals, such as patient simulators. In fact, the advantages of non-animal ETI training have been well documented. An Annals of Emergency Medicine study detailed the high ETI success rates achieved by paramedics trained on manikins exclusively, which was 86 percent. The authors conclude, “Our study supports the concept of using only manikins and didactic sessions for teaching the skills of ETI to paramedics.”
After receiving our letter, the St. John Health System agreed to stop using cats or other animals to teach ETI in its PALS program.