Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The First NOELLE

Actually this "maternal and neonatal birthing simulator" from Gaumard Scientific looks to be the 3rd or 4th NOELLE, and believe me, it's the souped up model. For $16,000, NOELLE is designed to provide a realistic childbirth training experience for clinicians, and comes with features such as a laptop, neonate that changes color with ventilation, intubatable airway with chest rise, IV arm, heart sounds, and three vulva for suturing practice! Users can also practice Leopold maneuvers, c-section, and forceps delivery.

This thing seems like a reasonable idea for training clinicians, and helping them get things right before assisting in real-life births. Is it worth $20,000 to practice on a doll instead of just observing births and being educated in a clinical setting? The CNN article indicates that the trainees learned some things during use of the simulator, but it's not clear whether those could have been equally learned through observation. What effect does it have on trainees and clinicians who may already need to be convinced that not every birth needs to involve being on your back, episiotomy, induced labor, c-section, or well-behaved patients? I don't know. I'd be very interested in what some of my midwife and student midwife readers think about this. Overall, I think practice is good, though.

On a somewhat related note, blogger Kat of Just Another Pretty Farce was waiting around patiently for me to pick up this story. I appreciated that gesture. If you haven't read her stuff, check it out. I think Kat and I disagree on a lot of things, but I always enjoy her writing and manner. She has pictures of the NOELLE device in action over at her place. For your amusement, I'm including one of the patent drawings instead.

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MeSH Tags: Education, Medical; obstetric AND simulation (keyword)


Blogger Kat Coble said...

First off, thanks for the kind words.

You ask Is it worth $20,000 to practice on a doll instead of just observing births and being educated in a clinical setting?

I'd have to say a qualified "yes," assuming that NOELLE is capable of as wide a range of complications as advertised. OBGYN is the highest malpractice specialty, which means that teaching hospitals have been getting progressively more skittish about hands-on education in high risk scenarios. Physicians I've talked to about this all seem to agree that this is the case. (Granted, that's only 4 physicians, so it's not a statistically relevant sample.) I imagine that NOELLE is giving students a wider range of experience. After all, you can break any number of $20K dolls for the same price as one malpractice suit involving a live birth gone wrong.

2:09 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

You make a good point that it's much cheaper to break the doll, and less devastating, than to make a mistake with a real patient.

5:25 AM  

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