Meet Lucina. Lucina is a state-of-the-art childbirth simulator and the newest member of our human patient simulator (HPS) family. Like other simulators, Lucina can breathe, speak and blink. Her pupils dilate, her heart rate can be measured, and she can be injected with drugs and fluids like a real patient.

But what makes Lucina special is her ability to give birth to a life-size, reactive infant simulator. This infant simulator looks and acts like a newborn, complete with an umbilical cord and the ability to cry. Lucina can also simulate rare birth scenarios including three types of breech birth positions, placenta-related complications and post-partum hemorrhaging.

Before Lucina, STARS crews used mannequin pelvises and infant dolls to train, but this was a far cry from the real thing. An educator would manipulate the mannequin by hand to create each simulation.

With Lucina, training is much more realistic. Both mother and infant are life-like and responsive. The entire scenario can take place with the educator in another room, allowing the crew to fully immerse themselves. This high-quality training is much more effective and engaging than older mannequin simulations or book-based modules.

Three interchangeable belly panels allow educators to use Lucina for a wide variety of medical conditions beyond childbirth. The same simulator can be used to recreate medical emergencies in a non-pregnant, pregnant or post-partum patient.

“The more lifelike you can make a simulation, the more the medical crew members will buy into it,” said Carol Ann Doll, a clinical educator and flight nurse at STARS. “They will react and behave exactly as they would in a real life scenario, which is hugely beneficial.”

Very few critical care providers in Canada have the opportunity to train with this type of technology on a regular basis, said Dr. Mike Betzner, a base medical director for STARS. These simulators range from $40,000 to $250,000 depending on the model, but the realistic training scenarios they provide are invaluable.

Lucina and her family are tools that help health-care practitioners be prepared for every scenario, no matter how unlikely. Our comprehensive HPS program offers both our crews and health-care providers across Western Canada valuable experience and exposure to help them provide the highest level of patient care possible.