Med simulation, real-world stress

Teams from across Michigan compete in the College of Medicine’s annual SIM Wars

| Author: Gary H. Piatek

Emergency medicine residents from across Michigan put their skills to the test in a competition that threw them into simulated, once-in-a-lifetime medical situations that cannot be practiced on actual patients or learned from a textbook.

The 10th annual SIM Wars competition, sponsored by Central Michigan University’s College of Medicine and the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association of Michigan, took place April 16 at the college’s Saginaw education building.

Dr. Robert Sasso, director of CMU’s state-of-the-art Covenant HealthCare Simulation Center, works each year with co-directors, Dr. Andrew Bazakis and Dr. Jonathon Deibel, to devise unpredictable, life-threatening situations for residents to address as a team.

Simulations called for residents to treat “patients” suffering from medical emergencies ranging from rattlesnake bites to stab wounds. What began as a sepsis diagnosis was elevated into a more serious matter in the final round, when a staged nurse administered a life-threatening medication error to a patient, due to a room mix-up.

In each simulation, teams are tested on their ability to handle uncommon medical issues. They are judged on communication among teams and “families,” their judgment, and stress management.

This year’s winning team was from Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, followed by Ascension Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc Township.

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