If many of us have an off day at work, someone’s life doesn’t usually hang in the balance. Heart surgeons don’t have that luxury. Every move they make is delicate and really counts.
But getting great at these intricate skills, like anything, takes practice, especially when the heart is moving. (In my own simple way, I liken this to trying to mend a hole in my son’s jeans while he’s wearing them and running around). That’s why a new model of the heart at Sunnybrook, called a beating heart simulator, is getting a lot of attention. It’s a perfect replica of a heart in motion, allowing surgeons in training to hone their skills in a safe and supervised environment. Mistakes can be made, and moves replicated over and over, with no harmful consequences to the learner or patient.
If you view my video, you can see the amazing resemblance this simulator has to the real human heart. This truly cool technology is the latest addition to the recently expanded Sunnybrook Canadian Simulation Centre. It’s a head-turning space, outfitted with mock patients (who breath, scream and bleed), and various body parts that look incredibly close to the real thing. You can even practice birthing a baby! Thousands of students have been trained in this space, and now even more can come in for more specialized skills training. The hope is that more practice now helps make perfect later on.