Robot baby helps doctors heal others

This four month old patient survived heart surgery a week ago, but her parents say something's wrong. They've brought her to The Children's Hospital where nurses begin checking her blood pressure and connect her to a heart monitor.

When her heart rate soars to 238 beats per minute things get very serious. The Rapid Response Team is called and help quickly arrives.

But things aren't always what they seem. The scenario is very real, but the baby is not. This is a Sim Baby. A robotic baby that helps doctors and nurses stay at the top of their game.

Dr. Andrew Gormley is a pediatric critical care intensivist who firmly believes this type of training is saving lives.

"The more you run thru something in a no-risk situation and improve your technique, improve your response time, all of that improves outcomes," Dr. Gormley said.

This robotic baby responds just like a real baby. She cries, her chest moves and her lips turn blue. Nurses can place an IV, get a pulse, and learn how to handle themselves when the patient doesn't survive.

"Not only does it allow you to gain expertise in the task of what you need to accomplish, but it also helps you prepare with the emotional side," said Janice Newton, Director of Nursing Research.

Because not every patient survives, the scenario and outcome can be altered. This time, the team could lose the baby because the medicine isn't working. So the decision is made to shock her heart.

As her heart rate drops and blood pressure falls, tensions are eased. The crisis was averted because the team knows how to work together.

"Sometimes we can even identify process issues with a scenario such as this," said Melissa Rice, a cardiac surgical nurse.

It's a win-win situation. A robotic baby helping living, breathing babies go home to mom and dad.

"If you can recognize the pathology early, you can intervene earlier and therefore you're going to have better outcomes and kids are going to be healthier," said Dr. Gormley.

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