“I Did Surgery On A Grape” – The Importance of Medical Simulation
If you’ve been paying attention to memes on social media recently, you might have come across the ‘I did surgery on a grape’ meme. But this is no ordinary internet meme, there’s an interesting medical simulation story behind it.
In this case, it goes back to 2010 when a group of American surgeons actually performed surgery on a grape. They used the delicate skin of the fruit to showcase the, then new, surgical robot da Vinci Xi. A few years later another video showed a different grape receiving stitches when using the same robot.
But it wasn’t until a few days ago when a popular social media influencer came across a video of yet another grape surgery from earlier this year that this particular grape became an overnight sensation!
The Importance of Medical Simulation
Even though the grape meme might seem trivial, many health practitioners have come forward to explain that this was an important and revolutionary medical simulation. This has fuelled further discussion about why medical simulations work and why they are important to every new generation of medical professional.
Johns Hopkins Hospital has reported that deficiencies in teamwork and education are to blame for 67% of medical errors.
The general public’s perception of medical simulation can be limited to just a few ‘snapshots’ on their favourite medical television drama. However, medical simulation happens every day wherever medicine is practiced and it’s a lot more advanced than many people might think.
Medical simulators teach first aiders effective CPR, allow medical students to practice detailed laparoscopies, perfect image guided lumbar spinal injections as well as how to deal with a range of obstetric emergencies. There are no end of procedures & situations that can be mimicked with highly realistic skills trainers and most hospitals have regular trauma training days to ensure continued and advanced education. Medical simulation practices highlight the importance of teamwork and communication as well as the practical skills used.
Medical simulations are used alongside patient-based training as a way to allow students to experience more complex or rare situations than they would generally be exposed to during regular patient-contact hours. Or, in cases such as tactical combat casualty care, to allow them to practise in a safe environment. Without these simulations, many students would enter the field without having had personal experiences, beyond books and videos, of these possible medical situations.
How Medical Simulation Helps Develop Skills
It is estimated that as many as 440,000 patients die each in the United States, with medical errors the third leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease (#1) and cancer (#2).
At 3B Scientific, we are keen to see the importance of medical simulation come to the limelight. We actively take part in the many discussions around the improvement of medical procedures, surgical techniques and improvements in medical team collaborations. The grape surgery, in particular, was performed with a piece of medical equipment that most health practitioners will never have the opportunity to use due to its cost. However, a large number of simulators and surgery trainers are extremely cost effective due to the number of times procedures can be performed on them and the wide range of procedures that can be taught.
Every health practitioner is able to benefit from dedicated simulation training periods. Even when performing surgery with advanced pieces of medical engineering, surgeons first need to go through hours of basic medical simulations that allow them to develop manual dexterity skills and time to hone their fine motor skills. Examples of this type of training includes practising sutures of subcutaneous tissue and skin in large and small wounds, sometimes in complex areas such as in-between fingers and in areas as delicate as the cranium.
Approximately 20% of all battlefield deaths are hypothetically preventable. Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) training provided to units has been shown to reduce numbers of preventable deaths. – Journal of Trauma and Rehabilitation
Without medical simulation, training scenarios that can provide repetitive practice, highly skilled procedures may only be taught to medical professionals once. This procedure may not be performed again until the medic is faced with a live scenario whilst under tremendous pressure. Both the terms the “Golden Hour” (transferring a patient in 60 min or less to a medical trauma treatment facility) and the “Platinum Ten Minutes” (ability to assess, initiate treatment and transport the patient within 10 min of a point of care) address the urgency of trauma care and the push to eliminate all preventable deaths on the battlefield.
TCCC simulators are, therefore, essential in preparing medical personnel for the multiple casualty and multiple traumatic wound scenarios of the battlefield.
But not all simulation is so hands-on. In some cases robots and machines come into play. The da Vinci Xi robot has generally been used to perform laparoscopies, prostate and uterus removals and cardiac valve repairs. Surgeons need to log a minimum amount of simulation hours on it before they are allowed to use it on patients. Similarly, robotic and computer based surgical trainers are used everyday to improve the skills of surgeons worldwide for procedures such as laparoscopies.
Simulation is at the heart of medical practice and medical development. 3B Scientific offers life-like, customisable simulators and trainers that use the latest technologies available to support health practitioners and students in their medical education and practice.