Somewhere inside the Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis, emergency medicine residents are getting schooled in suffering. Instructors demonstrate using live sheep and rabbits. Aspiring physicians take notes as the drilling of holes into the animals' skulls commences.
HCMC's stubborn use of animal testing puts it among a minority of facilities that still do so. In fact, it's the only hospital in Minnesota still using the practice.
The 12,000-member Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has called out what it describes as the center's archaic training methods. Last week, the group sent federal officials a complaint about the hospital's animal testing.
"This animal use is at odds with current standards of practice in emergency medicine training in
the United States," reads the letter, noting that 119 of 135 emergency medicine programs it surveyed
"exclusively use non-animal methods to teach residents."
Closer to home, the letter identifies "the emergency medicine residency at Regions Hospital in nearby St. Paul" for exclusively using training with simulators and cadavers.
Ironically, the Physicians Committee notes, "HCMC already has a state-of-the-art simulation center… that provides the simulation capabilities to replace the use of animals."
The group sees this shirking of humane medical research as a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. In the meantime, the Physicians Committee has spearheaded a campaign to pressure the center to abandon its ways.
Supporters are urged to write to HCMC CEO Jon Pryor.