Lackland Air Force Base in Texas is one of a tiny minority of facilities in the U.S. that still torments animals in outdated, cruel, and ineffective intubation training exercises for nurses and pediatric residents. Even though superior and sophisticated simulators that replicate human anatomy and physiology and that better prepare trainees to intubate children are widely used across the country, Lackland insists on abusing live ferrets instead. 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.
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PETA, along with several military medical experts, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Army Medical Command and the Air Force surgeon general on the grounds that Lackland’s animal intubation laboratory likely violates Joint Services Army Regulation 40-33, which requires that non-animal methods be used for training whenever they are available. More than 90 percent of U.S. pediatric residency programs like Lackland’s—including those at other military facilities—use only modern infant simulators for intubation training.
Lackland’s training methods show a lack of compassion for animals and provide doctors and nurses with inferior training. You can send a polite e-mail to Lackland’s Brig. Gen. Leonard Patrick and ask him to end the use of animals for intubation training —for everyone’s benefit.
Written by Michelle Sherrow