High school students train to save lives using lifelike mannequins

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

High school students are receiving paramedic training this week on how to learn how to respond to medical emergencies using lifelike mannequins. For example, they’ll practice with scenarios such as a person wheezing from an allergic reaction due to a bee sting.

The event is staged at Holy Name Medical Center’s Institute for Simulation Learning.

“It was fun, I guess, because it was my first time trying it,” one of the students, Yireh Jung said. “It’s not like actual scenario, like, it’s kind of real. So, yeah, it was interesting and fun.”

While the team treats the patient, instructors watch and record students from a control room to assess their performance.

“We’re teaching them not only about health care careers, but we’re also teaching them about just how to be conscientious citizens and about how to care for people, whether it be a patient, or a family member or a friend,” the Director Cedar Wang explained.

All 30 high school students have specific roles when treating the mannequins suffering from a sudden illness or ailment. In one scenario, they attempt to resuscitate a man who suffered an apparent heart attack. Then, their roles turn to assisting the licensed paramedics.

The mannequins are programmable, which makes the exercise seem a lot more real.

“It is pretty real, the way the mannequins look — the skin and how you could stick needles in it and blood will come out,” student Christian Cabral said.

“It’s basically lifelike,” another student, Samuel Yang echoed. “It can sweat, it can bleed, it can talk. Different voices come out. It moans, it screams. It’s basically a real-life scenario for me.”

Some of the students have parents or other relatives in the medical profession and seem destined to follow in those footsteps. Yang’s wants to be an anesthesiologist and his dad is an acupuncturist.

“I believe all doctors in whatever medical field your in, I believe they are saving lives,” he said, “That’s what I want to do when I grow up. So, I count them all as my heroes.”

Holy Name operates these simulation sessions six days a week, even at night. Wang says the focus is always on communication.

“It’s so important, especially in health care when patient safety really rides on it. We know that close to 80 percent of medical errors happen because of breakdown in communication. So that’s something that we’re really enforcing and driving home in this program — nursing schools, medical schools are really placing a greater focus now on communication. Not just being good doctors and good nurses, but good communicators as human beings.”

The team eventually does revive the patient, a success story they hope to replicate countless times in real life.