Pregnant robot teaches medical students how to deliver drug dependent babies

CHILLICOTHE, OH (WCMH) – Since 2011, babies born dependent on drugs has doubled at the Adena Regional Medical Center.

Adena said on average, about 65 percent of opiate dependent mothers will have babies who withdraw after delivery.

Delivering these babies can be complicated and medical students are learning how to with a very advanced pregnant robot named, Victoria.

It’s about as close to real life as you can get. Victoria can speak, react and simulate countless medical scenarios.

But, one of her most important jobs is teaching medical students how to deliver a baby born dependent on drugs.

“It’s really nice to see the birth process as opposed to just learning about it or hearing about it,” said medical student Sydney Cryder.

And during the opiate epidemic, Victoria might be needed more than ever.

“The risk has increased as the substances have increased,” said clinical educator and RN Michelle Perdue.

She said delivering a baby born dependent on drugs can be complicated. The mother may have increased bleeding and the baby might not be breathing. These are all signs and symptoms that Victoria can simulate.

“When the baby comes out it can be very depressed, so as you saw earlier we did some ventilation. We can do compressions,” said Perdue. “This baby will also simulate any tremors that you might see in a dependent neonate.”

Perdue said training like this is crucial for her students and hopes it also teaches them to be compassionate towards families struggling with addiction.

“I think it’s very important,” she said. “I don’t see it getting any better in the near future, so we can arm them with the tools and the knowledge when they start practicing independently, I think it will be very helpful.”

So far, about 300 medical students and residents have learned from Victoria through 170 simulated deliveries.

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