Simulated patient gives birth to teach staff at Spectrum

Posted at 9:25 AM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 11:23:30-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- "Is everything all right with my baby?" the patient demanded. Then the newborn cried.

"Oh, you've got a girl," Spectrum Health's simulation educator Vickie Slot said as she handed a plastic newborn to Lucina.

It was all simulation of a live childbirth. Lucina, the patient, is an unsettlingly realistic mannequin. She looks -- and acts -- like a woman in childbirth.

Lucina is what the teaching staff at Spectrum Health calls the CAE Lucina Maternal Fetal Simulator. There are only 33 in the country, and one of them is a new tool in training Spectrum staff and students.

Lucina and her baby

Lucina and her baby

During critical moments of live childbirth and unplanned situations, having highly trained staff makes all the difference. While Lucina's realism can be disturbing to non-medical personnel, without that realism the simulator wouldn't be effective.
Lucina is built to train staff who deal with normal deliveries as well as childbirth emergencies.

Tuesday afternoon, Spectrum Health staff gave FOX 17 an exclusive preview on how Lucina works.

Vicki Slot

Vicki Slot

Slot talked about the value of realistic simulations. "When you engage your senses, you engage your emotions." She said staff can never over-prepare for a child birth.

"How does a team of experts get good at a situation you never do, never practice?" she asked.

Lucina simulates real-time contractions, has a pulse and life-like skin that can handle IVs. She can also mock intimate real-life scenarios, like when an expecting mother has low blood pressure or a post partum hemorrhage.

What's more, the baby "will cry on delivery has sensors in the neck that tell us if we’re pulling too much," said Karla Olson of CAE Healthcare, the company that builds Lucina.

Slot says this program will roll out over a span of three years. This is the first year. Next year, Spectrum will expand training sessions using Lucina at their regional hospitals too.

Spectrum Health is the only hospital in Michigan using Lucina.

Lucina cost $80,000 which Spectrum received in a grant from the Hearst Foundation.