PETA And Rush University Collaboration Spares Animals And Improves OB/GYN Residency

Medical Center Switches to Advanced Virtual Reality Surgery for Residency Training

For Immediate Release:
June 28, 2016

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) doctors-in-training at Rush University Medical Center no longer have to practice surgical procedures on pigs, thanks to a collaboration between the hospital and PETA that will allow medical residents to train on a state-of-the-art virtual reality surgical system.

When PETA initially contacted Rush, residents at the medical school performed invasive surgeries on the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes of female pigs, after which the animals were killed.

After speaking with PETA about superior, non-animal training methods, Rush’s OB/GYN residency officials immediately ended all training practices involving animals. Rush then worked with PETA to obtain software for an advanced virtual reality surgical training system that accurately mimics human anatomy. PETA has contributed $6,000 for the simulator’s Gynecology/Hysterectomy module, thereby allowing Rush to end the use of animals for OB/GYN residency training.

“Rush University’s OB/GYN residents deserve the best medical education possible, and that means state-of-the-art virtual reality surgical training,” says PETA Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is ready to help medical centers across the country switch to human-patient simulators that spare animals’ lives and allow trainees to repeat invasive procedures until they’re confident and adept.”

“The surgical experience of our residents takes a huge leap forward as we move toward a more humane and effective method of simulation training,” says Dr. Xavier Pombar, the OB/GYN residency director at Rush University. “Representatives from PETA have worked steadfastly with our department toward this goal. I cannot thank them enough for their efforts.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—notes that studies show that doctors who learn lifesaving surgical skills on human simulators are more proficient than those who use animals.

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