PORTLAND, OR – Oregon Health and Sciences University recently unveiled their innovative new orthopedic surgery simulator, which consists of a large industrial warehouse filled with hundreds of tree stumps and a single blunt ax.
“This simulation center provides the most realistic orthopedic surgical environment possible,” explained Alan Ward, orthopedic surgery residency program director for OHSU. “While nothing can completely prepare residents for the operating room, dismantling a dense block of wood with a poorly sharpened ax should get them as close as humanly possible.”
Through a highly structured curriculum, residents are given the opportunity to hone important orthopedic surgical skills, such as “putting your back into it” and “lifting heavy objects.” Residents begin the simulation by chopping low density woods like balsa and bamboo, then slowly graduate to denser woods like American Oak and Mahogany. Stephen Hart, an orthopedic surgery intern is particularly excited about the goal-oriented nature of the curriculum. “Right now, I’m not strong. But I will be!” explained Hart.
Several metrics are assessed as residents progress through the program. In addition to gain in muscle mass, evaluators also look for percentage of surgical gown soaked in perspiration, and “grunt effectiveness.”
When asked about the impetus for building the state-of-the-art facility, Ward cited a desire to give back to the Portland community. “The forestry service in Oregon has been affected by budget cutbacks.” They had all these tree stumps. We had all these weak-ass residents. It just made sense. You know, kill two birds with one stone.