Despite having publicly announced in 2007 that its cruel use of ferrets for pediatric intubation training "will be phased out due to the development of adequate simulation training models," the Madigan Army Medical Center continues to have trainees repeatedly shove hard plastic tubes down ferrets' delicate windpipes.
This cruel and archaic procedure can cause bleeding, swelling, pain, scarring, collapsed lungs, and even death and has been abandoned by nearly every other medical training facility in the country in favor of superior and humane infant simulators.
Department of Defense regulators require that alternatives to the use of animals be implemented whenever available and research shows that simulators better prepare medical professionals.
Please contact Madigan officials and urge them to abide by military regulations and honor the public pledge they made in 2007 by replacing the cruel use of animals for intubation training with modern medical simulators.
Dear Major General Richard W. Thomas and Mr. Aaron Pitney,
I was dismayed to learn that Madigan Army Medical Center continues to use ferrets for intubation training, despite having publicly announced in 2007 that its use of ferrets "will be phased out due to the development of adequate simulation training models." In this archaic and cruel training, ferrets have hard plastic tubes repeatedly shoved down their delicate windpipes which can cause bleeding, swelling, pain, scarring, collapsed lungs, and even death.
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Department of Defense regulations require
that alternatives to animals be used when available, and other military facilities including the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, the Naval Medical Center San Diego, the William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, have already replaced their use of animals in intubation training with modern simulation methods. Similarly, more than 90 percent of pediatric residency programs in the U.S. -- including Madigan's neighbor, the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine -- use only non-animal methods for intubation training, and the UW has publicly stated that "[S]imulation will be a more cost-effective way to train intubation techniques."
Even the American Heart Association, which sponsors the course offered at Madigan for which ferrets are still being used, states that it, "does not require or endorse the use of animals" and that it, "recommends that any hands-on intubation training�be performed on lifelike human manikins."
Please honor Madigan's own commitment and replace the cruel use of animals for intubation training with modern simulators.