Like a real human being, the adult simulator in the simulation lab at Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston has a pulse, and it moans in response to pain.

About 75 Evanston firefighter paramedics treated a broken femur and a head injury on the patient simulator this week. Their work was videotaped so they could review how well they performed later on.

St. Francis is a regional resource hospital in the state’s emergency medical services system. It trains and provides medical oversight for more than 800 life safety personnel from seven municipalities and two ambulance companies.

The hospital’s director of patient services, Dawn Leroy, said the lab is also used to train nurses, physicians, and other hospital staff. They practice medical procedures on the life-like manikins — which produce typical vital sign responses to the trainee’s diagnostic and treatment choices.

Paramedics practice treating a severe peanut allergy with a wheezing pediatric manikin.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber said that as medical procedures become more numerous and complex, this was a special opportunity for firefighters to practice life-saving techniques to improve patient care and refine their teamwork and communication skills.

“You have to be able to think on your feet very quickly,” Klaiber said. “This is stressful to have people watching and videotaping.”

“If they do something they weren’t supposed to do, I could kill the patient,” Emergency Medical Services coordinator Adam Greenberg said. “Then again, sometimes bad things happen.”

The manikins “actually breathe and give you a heart rhythm,” Leroy said.

“Short of training on a real human, this is the next best thing,” Chief Klaiber said.

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