Cornell professor develops new critical care tool

Nov 22, 2010
By staff
Ithaca, N.Y. -- A new tool is available to help veterinary students better train for critical care situations. Much like Rescue Annie is used to teach life-saving techniques in human-medicine, Dr. Dan Fletcher at Cornell University Hospital for Animals has developed Rescue Fido and Fluffy.

Fletcher, an assistant professor of emergency and critical care, designed the rescue dog and cat mannequins and related software to give veterinary students a better grasp on the emergency procedures they will need to perform during their careers.

“I present lectures on shock and resuscitation to DVM students in the fall of their third year,” Fletcher says. “I don’t want students to freeze like deer in the headlights when they are confronted with a real-life crisis setting in clinics.” Fletcher reverse-engineered a human model, which he then adapted for canine use in collaboration with Cornell robotics expert Dr. Hod Lipson, associate professor of mechanical engineering. Multiple embedded speakers emit heart and lung sounds, and create pulses that can be palpated. A balloon in the chest cavity simulates chest excursions and mimics breathing, according to Cornell spokesperson Stephanie Specchio. All the features are driven by programmable software that is programmable that can be adjusted for real time. Simulated system monitors report on vital indicators such as ECG, pulse oximetry, and blood pressure. The mannequin also can be intubated for positive pressure ventilation, with a realistic airway that accommodates an endotracheal tube or ambu bag. Clinicians can also deliver chest compressions.