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For Immediate Release

3-Month-Old "Katie" Offers High-Tech Training to Next Generation of Critical Care Physicians at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh one of five sites throughout country that tested pediatric simulator prototype

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh today unveiled "Katie," the most sophisticated pediatric simulator ever built, which will be used to train critical care physicians.

Beginning this month, all critical care fellows at Children's will spend one month training in critical care scenarios which utilize Katie before they begin hands-on care of critically ill and injured patients at Children's. This training will be conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research (WISER), where Katie is housed. Previously, critical care fellows had begun their subspecialty training in the intensive care units of Children's.

"Spending one month training on a simulator will give our doctors vital experience dealing with a number of potentially life-threatening scenarios they could encounter in the intensive care unit," said Ann E. Thompson, MD, chief of Critical Care Medicine at Children's and professor of Critical Care Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "The crucial benefit is that Katie is a simulator, so there is room for error and repetition. We can simply start the exercise over with an experienced physician instructing the fellow on the proper technique."

Katie, designed to represent an infant 3-6 months old, is a SimBaby manufactured by Laerdal. Five centers throughout the United States, including WISER, spent the last two years testing and refining a prototype of the SimBaby. The result is a SimBaby and training program that will serve as a model for others across the United States.

Melinda Fiedor, MD, a critical care physician at Children's and director of pediatric simulation at WISER, was instrumental in the development of Katie. Dr. Fiedor also developed the pediatric critical care course that will be used to train Children's critical care fellows, creating complex scenarios that will be carried out on Katie. The SimBaby can best used to test a number of life-threatening scenarios such as shock, cardiac arrest, airway difficulties, pneumonia and a collapsed lung. Physicians training on Katie can also perform procedures including placing a breathing tube in her airway and a central line to deliver medications.

"Simulators have been used in medical training for decades. However, the use of pediatric simulators is only now being explored and both Children's and WISER are at the forefront of this exciting technology," Dr. Fiedor said. "Research has shown that the use of simulators to train medical students leads to improved levels of care and reduced incidence of medical errors. Our goal is to make that happen at the pediatric level and serve as a model for other pediatric programs across the country."

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 18, 2008
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Last Update
February 18, 2008