Little Johnny puts paediatric team through their paces
10 May 2012
A true-to-life child manikin was the focus of concentrated medical and nursing attention when Southend University Hospital staged an hour-long exercise in emergency care.
Three-year-old 'Little Johnny' presented as a seriously-ill
child, transferred to the hospital's Neptune children's unit from
A&E and accompanied by his distraught 'mum' - played by a
critical care senior nurse.
The highly-sophisticated manikin - on loan from the Postgraduate
Medical Institute at Anglia Ruskin University - reacts just as a
bona fide patient would. It has a pulse, it blinks and its pupils
dilate. It can be cannulated, intraosseus needles can be inserted
through the hard cortex of the bone to the softer marrow, and it
can turn blue to indicate low oxygen levels.
Prof John Kinnear, consultant anaesthetist and the hospital's
director of medical education, acted as simulator operator
throughout the exercise, so that Little Johnny's responses
reflected the treatment he was receiving.
Julie Dibbens, practice facilitator for paediatrics, who helped
set up the scenario, said: "The exercise was a multi-disciplinary
team approach to learning and included a paediatric consultant,
registrar, junior doctors and all grades of nurses.
"Afterwards, we had a full debriefing with paediatric consultant
Dr Anupam Shrivastava to discuss aspects of the scenario and
treatment for the particular condition presented."
In this cases, it was diabetic ketoacidosis*, indicated by
heavy, laboured ('Kussmauls') breathing as the body attempts to
eliminate acids, but the symptoms can be changed for different
The in-house training complements that received at the ARU
campus at Chelmsford and it is hoped to stage more in-situ
simulations on the hospital site, providing the best of both
Julie added: "They are designed to be as much like real life as
possible, which is why we had someone to pose as the distressed
mum. We are hoping these sessions will become a regular
"Ultimately, this is about improving patient safety by improving
the way healthcare teams work."