CFCC Student Film Shows How Medical Simulation Technology Can Help Save Lives

Accompanied by a pulsing dramatic score, two soldiers dressed in camouflage cautiously trudge through the wilderness looking for a wounded comrade. The sound of military helicopters soar overhead. A body in uniform lies on the ground as the soldiers approach. After checking for signs of life, the soldiers carry their wounded companion down a dirt road past a bombed-out structure where they can dress his injuries in relative safety.  On closer view, the wounded soldier is not actually human, but a METI man, a lifelike robotic manikin that is used to train medical technicians.

This was the premise of a new short film made by Cape Fear Community College students and faculty to demonstrate how the METI man can be used to train military personnel in a combat scenario. The video recently won first place in a national video contest sponsored by METI, the company that manufactures the technology.

CFCC biology instructor Mark VanCura, who uses the METI technology in his classes, decided that the college should submit a video as a way of having departments work together and promote the use of the technology in the classroom.

VanCura explained that the theme of using a military scenario in the project came about because he has seen so many military veterans and students with military spouses come through the college and that the technology used to train students can be used to help save lives in the military.

In fact, one of VanCura’s students had a husband that was home on medical leave, and he ended up serving as a consultant for the film.

“The day we filmed it he came up to me, limping on crutches, and said, ‘I just want to thank you for thinking of us. I lost a lot of friends in combat, and the training that these students get in your class will save lives.’  So from that we came up with the slogan, “saving soldiers one simulation at a time,” VanCura stated.

Students at CFCC have been using human patient simulators for over a year in classes including anatomy and physiology, nursing and Emergency Medical Technician training. The simulators are able to display life signs like breathing, blinking and even have a pulse, which can be changed depending on the training scenario. By using the simulators, students can get exposure to a wide variety of medical problems ranging from cardiac arrest to a medication overdose. The machines provide a real-world element to the classes that can’t be experienced from a lecture or even a traditional mannikin.

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