Countless nervous first year medical students have Dr. Pugh to thank for making their first venture into the world of sensitive exams a bit easier with her patented digital uterus and robotic rectum.
Dr. Carla Pugh seems an unlikely patron of porn shops.
But that’s exactly where Pugh, an assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, procured some of the male body parts she uses to train medical students about human anatomy.
Pugh, 41, has patented technology that combines portions of fully formed anatomical mannequins with computers to teach medical students to do exams on the body’s most private and sensitive areas — genitalia, breasts and rectums.
These are the exams, she said, that students are often most afraid of and that many medical school instructors, themselves often long-time practicing physicians, still find to be a source of embarrassment.
“We’ve got big issues in the U.S. with sexuality,” Pugh said in an interview during a break from teaching first-year medical students. “These guys have to be able to do it and act professional, so that adds a lot of pressure.”
Getting supplies to build the models was no easy task. Medical education has largely glossed over such training, limiting demand for products in the industry. In some cases, erotica was the only option, she said.
From the manufacturer:
Until now, objective assessment of technical and hands-on clinical skills was virtually non-existent in the area of female pelvic exams because you cannot measure what you cannot see. That’s why we developed the METI Pelvic ExamSIM. By creating a platform that offers truly objective and measurable feedback, learners and instructors alike can know first-hand if they are proficient and ready to perform sensitive female pelvic examinations. Using patented Touch-Sensitive™ technology, the ExamSIM opens the mind’s eye to provide a greater overall learning experience.
The Pelvic ExamSIM was designed to be a powerful teaching tool to support the goals and objectives of individual programs. The METI philosophy for integrating the ExamSIM into a given program is not about replacing learning platforms that are working, but rather supporting those platforms to create a more complete learning experience.
The METI Pelvic ExamSIM uses minimal equipment to achieve a high degree of learning. The basic system components include a female pelvic cavity (mannequin), interchangeable internal anatomy and a laptop Computer Workstation. Using these basic components, instructors have the ability to realistically represent the female pelvis and provide learners with a hands-on introduction to the female anatomy prior to practicing on a real patient. Learners can practice both bimanual pelvic and rectal exams on the mannequin and the sensors inside the pelvic cavity provide direct feedback to the Computer Workstation. This complete system provides immediate feedback to the instructor and the learner on how accurately the examination is being performed, increasing both skills acquisition and confidence in the process.