MhaXwell is not here to teach ventriloquism, as could be mistakenly thought when hearing about his arrival in Rim Country. While technically a "dummy," there is nothing dumb about this one. As high tech as they come, MhaXwell is classed as a SimMan, an amalgamation of Simulation Manikin. MhaXwell is a virtual patient here to teach emergency medical techniques to first responders and local health care students. Funded by the MHA Foundation, MhaXwell was given his name as an homage to the foundation, combined with his mission of promoting wellness.
The SimMan was created by Laerdal Manufacturing, initially as an anesthesiology and military training tool, and has evolved to become a bio-realistic simulator capable of speaking, gasping, and even saying "oops" when a student makes a mistake, among many, many other abilities. While never replacing real patient care, it serves as a first step in the training process between class work and hands-on clinical care. According to the Laerdal website, SimMan patient simulators are used in over 5,000 institutions in 120 countries. Martin Hetland of Laerdal says, "SimMan Essential can facilitate diverse and versatile patient scenarios in a range of operational environments. From an emergency in a remote location to definitive care in a hospital or from a war-torn battlefield to a busy hospital ward – we wanted to create a mobile simulation solution that injects a greater realism into scenario based training to further enhance and contextualize learning objectives in preparation for real patient encounters."
The idea for MhaXwellwas brought forward as a proposal to MHA Foundation by Hellsgate Fire Chief David Bathke, who had connections to one being sold through the University of Wisconsin, having worked there before coming to the area. Chief Bthke knew that the addition of this virtual training man would be wonderful for the community, allowing hundreds to be trained to recognize and treat countless medical events using the technology. The MHA Foundation saw the tremendous value the high-fidelity simulator could bring to the community and funded the proposal to purchase MhaXwell.
MhaXwell's computer programming allows for different scenarios to be simulated, such as stroke, heart attack, infections, or choking. He then measures and monitors the response of the student to the situation through their actions. MhaXwell can be programmed with a wide variety of illnesses, injuries, and medical emergencies. If the student responds to the condition appropriately, MhaXwell improves. Incorrect treatments see his condition worsen. Sometimes the answer is catastrophically wrong, and MhaXwell's simulation ends in his death. Training students in settings such as this allows them to increase their confidence and assessment skills in a low-risk environment while still giving a good approximation of actual patient care.
Students can be assessed not only on clinical skills but also on communication with co-workers and the patient, safety measures, and bedside manner. The simulator helps train students for procedures like airway intubations and heart attacks. The training manikin can also be used as a re-cap to simulate real case studies and see different possible outcomes.
MhaXwell began his time in Rim Country in the back of an ambulance donated by Chief Steve Holt. The donation, along with a gurney, allowed MhaXwell to have a fixed location. It served as an ideal location for training the first responders. MhaXwell is now sharing time with the community college as well to continue training in the nursing program.
Rim Country continues to grow and innovate in the healthcare field thanks to the forward thinking of local leaders and philanthropy of organizations like the MHA Foundation to bring technology like MhaXwell to our area. Students will be sure to benefit from the addition for years to come. Local patient care will, of course, ultimately reap the benefits as well.