Even without a big striped hat, our mischievous cat shook things up at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital gala this past weekend. Dressed to the nines in a bowtie and tails, the cat grabbed the attention of the gala attendees while his fellow protesters handed out information about the hospital’s abuse of cats for cruel and archaic intubation training exercises in its Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course.
The leaflets were, unfortunately, not works of children’s fiction. Trainees at St. Louis Children’s force hard plastic tubes down cats’ delicate windpipes over and over again in a procedure that can cause bleeding and swelling in the tissue of the cats’ throats as well as pain, scarring, collapsed lungs, and even death. One gala attendee exclaimed, “Are they really doing this? I have a cat at home. This is horrible!”
Readily available infant simulators have been shown to better prepare trainees to treat sick and injured babies and children. Even the PALS course’s sponsor, the American Heart Association, strongly opposes animal use in the course. The group has distanced itself from the few facilities that still use animals and only recommends the use of simulators.
If you do not like it, not one little bit, take a minute to tell Saint Louis Children’s Hospital to stop abusing cats and better serve children by switching to modern, superior human-patient simulators.
Written by Michelle Sherrow