Categories: cat welfare

PETA pressure Cincinnati Children’s Hospital into stopping cats being used for training

Paediatric Advanced Life Support Course dummy

You may know that domestic cats have been and still are used to train doctors to insert intubation tubes into babies. It is part of their paediatric medicine training. I suppose, domestic cats have a similar anatomy to babies in this respect and it is a 20-year-old tradition. According to PETA up to 15 cats are used annually and more than 2,200 doctors from 80 countries have undertaken this training. Over 20 years more than 370 cats have suffered this now unnecessary abuse as I would describe it.

This is because there are alternatives nowadays. It transpired that a cat called Biscuit died in 2018. He died:

“..after suffering an apparent anaesthesia-induced stroke-like event that impaired blood flow to the brain, leading to destruction of brain tissue”.

He’s not the first to die when used as a training aid for doctors. Mistakes can cause internal bleeding I am told. Cindy Tait, who I believe was a trainee at one time said about the procedure:

“The very first PALS course [Paediatric Advanced Life Support] I attended at a University Medical Center used live animals. When they brought live kittens out on waxed metal trays I left the room and wept.”

“There is no medical or educational need to use cats or any animals to teach these human medical procedures effectively”, said PETA’s vice president of international laboratory methods, Shalin Gala. Other organisations use human simulators in training programs.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s chairwoman of the paediatric department, Dr Margaret Hosteller, responded by stating:

“I have discussed this matter with Dr Wood, and he understands that he and any other physicians who may teach the paediatric flexible bronchoscopy postgraduate course in the future will no longer use animals. This prohibition has been communicated to Dr Wood and his colleagues”.

Well, this is what I describe as good cat news. One more step in the long journey towards improved domestic cat welfare.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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