Innovation and Imagination in Medical Training Equipment

Posted by admin on December 20, 2012 at 10:12 am. Filed under: Medical Training

Modern make-up and special effects techniques allow film and TV programmes to bring a startling level of realism to their depiction of medical cases. However, creating convincing artificial wounds to all parts of the body is more than just entertainment – it’s an important aspect of emergency medical service training that helps save lives.

Moulage, the French word for casting or moulding, is a technique for creating fake ‘injuries’ so that medical personnel can gain valuable experience. Though wax anatomical models date back to the 17th century, moulage experts can now take advantage of flexible materials like latex when creating their horrific-looking prosthetics. Nowadays, you can practise using first aid equipment on something that looks and feels like real flesh, blood and bone. These are just some of the ground-breaking training aids available to those who buy medical equipment.

Skeletons and models

Owning a full-size human skeleton has long been an essential part of a doctor’s training. Specialist models of the heart, brain and torso also simulate the human anatomy with a remarkable degree of accuracy. Comparative vertebrae sets are also available. These are mounted on a stand and coloured to aid identification of the various surfaces. Lifting demonstration models are popular for training. These models show how the spine is distorted by an incorrect posture. Pairs of mounted head sections are similarly accessible, illustrating not just the brain but the mouth, tongue, nose, oesophagus and trachea.

Training manikins

If you’re familiar with medical equipment, you’ll already know that manikins come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Often competitively priced, CPR prompt manikins can be very useful. Heads and chins can be tilted to open airways and these easy-to-clean models feature anatomical landmarks.

First aid equipment can be trialled on various versatile models. Many advanced trauma modules feature a comprehensive range of injuries, from scalp lacerations to a compound clavicle fracture. Speciality manikins also include the stand-alone blood pressure training arm.

One company manufactures a version of the choking manikin which is designed to simulate an obese patient. This allows rescuers to learn the correct hand placement and protocols for helping pregnant, older or larger patients with airway obstruction.

Training for burns injuries

One way for paramedics to gain experience using a burns kit is with non-bleeding moulages. These lifelike mouldings can be made to simulate second-degree or third-degree burns on areas such as the chest, hands and face. Highly versatile and reusable, these moulages can be used on manikins or humans during training.

Simulating other types of wound

Bleeding moulages can be made to look like many different wounds and injuries, making them ideal for trying out first aid equipment. Models available include a crushed foot, abdominal wounds with protruding intestines, leg amputation and a sucking wound of the chest


Fake blood is a staple ingredient of many cinematic and theatrical productions – from Hammer horror to Shakespearean tragedy. Many ‘recipes’ have been tried over the years. For purely medical training purposes, most ranges offer a choice of simulated blood powder in 85gm pouches, or bottles of liquid stage blood that is suitable for use in the mouth.


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