Simulator prepares medical staff for Obstetric emergencies

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- This is part four of a five-part series on patient safety.

Child birth although a natural process can sometimes pose certain emergency risks.

Advances in technology however, have been able to significantly decrease these maternal and prenatal risks associated with child birth; most notably the 366th Medical Group Obstetric service boasts such technology in the form of a Mobile Obstetrics Emergency Simulator, commonly referred to as "MIA."

"MIA is basically a medical manikin with the ability to recreate a variety of emergency scenarios," said Capt. Kristin Daniel, 366th MDG women's health obstetrician.

Because MHAFB is in a rural area, simulation training with MIA is paramount to a safe and effective Obstetrical practice.

"It is designed to help us simulate the high-risk and rare deliveries," explained Maj. Daren Pittard, 366th MDG women's health flight commander. "Mountain Home is remote and has low volume, so many of the worst complications don't occur here very often, but with MIA everyone can be trained on these life threatening emergencies in a realistic way."

MIA has the ability to simulate a wide variety of life-threatening situations, keeping medical members on their toes.

"We practice postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, pregnancy seizures as well as placental abruption," said Dr. Pittard. "Those are really the ones that put fear in the hearts of anyone on labor and delivery, but with MIA we can keep everyone fresh and up-to-date on those."

Situations simulated by MIA, are inputted by a trainer and can be instantaneously altered depending on the trainees' reactions.

"Usually the person in-charge sets up the room with what they want the scenario to be then they can choose a scenario that's pre-programmed into the computer and they can change things as they go depending on what response they get from the participants," said Dr. Pittard.

The hands-on aspect of MIA also sets this type of training above the rest.

"Once you've done something, you remember it better, you will do it better the next time, you always have that experience to draw on rather than trying to recall a couple sentences in a textbook," said Dr. Daniel.

The advancement of technology plays a large role when it comes to this type of sophisticated, realistic training.

"The technology of the simulators is allowing us to be better as providers, so as the simulation technology gets better, we get better," said Dr. Pittard.

To everyone involved, MIA is more than just a training tool -- it is a resource with the potential to help save lives.

"The last thing you want is to have an emergency and have it be your nurse or techs' first time ever being exposed to it," said Dr. Pittard. "When an adverse event occurs, our team will be ready to respond and make it a safer situation."