If you’re looking at all the
911 emergency calls in the United States, about one percent
of all of those are serious
critical pediatrics, which is relatively rare.
It’s technically a good thing. We don’t want children to be
sick with emergencies, but that rarity presents itself a
training problem. Because pediatric emergencies
are low-frequency, high-stakes
events training methodology
to gain experiential learning, we have to basically create these
experiences without causing harm to the patient. The most common way that we
replicate that experience is through mannequin-based
simulation and that’s how you train for different procedures
including resuscitations and
how to assemble as a team. But mannequin-based simulation
is costly both in time and effort, so that’s when we built
a simulation in virtual reality. (Paramedic) Doctor, this is a
seven-year-old female who started developing a rash and
difficulty breathing at a
Chinese restaurant. (Patient) My belly hurts.
(Paramedic) Doctor, I heard
wheezing in my exam. (Parent) Doctor, please help my
little girl. (Paramedic) Doctor, what do you
want to do? (Marie LaFortune) Everything
says anaphylaxis. I should intubate her before
the airway closes.
(Todd Chang) Yeah. Go for it and intubate now. I think virtual reality really
complements the mannequins because in the VR, you have
that emotional stress of a parent saying like,
“my child is dying.” That gets your heart racing,
your palms are sweating and and you need to refocus
with those elements there. So this mirrors what you’re
going to feel, to some degree, in a real-life emergency. It only took 18 seconds for
you to intubate. That’s like,
amazing. You make mistakes, you learn
the consequences, you get feedback, and you try again
to correct those mistakes. That’s how people learn. In low-frequency, high-stakes
events, there is no room for
mistakes. The virtual reality setting
provides a safe educational arena for you to practice and
practice over and over again
until you get better and better. Those mistakes can be made
there, you learn from it, and when the real thing happens,
you’ll be ready. You’re learning where your
knowledge gaps are and that allows you to improve if
you ever do encounter those situations again. And that
should translate into you being
a better doctor. There are so many different
ways to help children and children’s health, and we owe
it to the kids to perform
at our best.