December 14, 2019
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Portland hospital to end use of live animals for training

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
A car drives by the east tower at Maine Medical Center in Portland in this March 27, 2018, file photo.

Maine Medical Center has ended the practice of using live pigs for emergency medicine training, falling in line with a national trend in which hospitals opt for high-tech simulators.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the hospital issued a statement last week that said it’s transitioning emergency medical training entirely to simulators.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said the action was taken after it raised the issue.

The committee said it was once common for medical students to use pigs to practice tracheotomies, insert breathing tubes and procedures that open the chest. The animals are euthanized afterward.

Maine Medical Center used 13 pigs for its medical training program, based on an annual report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2018. The hospital also used 89 other animals, mostly mice, in research.


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