GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Forget the stethoscope. The videogame controller could be the newest item you find in your doctor's black bag. Videogames could make the difference when medical teams are faced with a crisis.
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When disasters strike, time means everything. Medical teams must react quickly. A new videogame uses virtual reality to prepare trauma surgeons, nurses and therapists for the decisions they will have to make during the next emergency.
The game simulates an explosion in a theme park and teaches life-saving skills needed to treat up to 2,000 burn victims. With only 1,800 burn beds in the nation, training like this is crucial.
"A situation with that many patients generated all at once has never happened in this country and it would overwhelm any healthcare system," David W. Mozingo, M.D., director of the Shands Burn Center in Gainesville, Fla., told Ivanhoe.
Players provide initial on-the-scene care and choose what hospital to send patients to.
"You can't just send everybody to the burn center right away or then you won't have burn beds available for people who might really benefit from them," Peter A. Pappas, M.D., a trauma surgeon at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Fla., said
Players then follow 12 patients through their in-hospital care over a 36-hour time period.
Dr. Pappas says the game provides skills that translate into the real world.
"It forces you to think quickly," he said. "It forces you to analyze a situation and decide how to proceed."
It's a lifesaving tool for the people who save lives.
The game takes about an hour to complete and is different every time it is played. Trauma staff are currently testing it in Florida's 21 trauma centers.
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.