Imagine administering first aid to a crash-test dummy that breathes, blinks, bleeds and even urinates.
That's what medics are doing these days as increasingly lifelike mannequins are being used by the U.S. military and other forces for training.
Military personnel are practicing on patient simulators including the SimMan 3G, manufactured by medical equipment maker Laerdal.
The mannequins are wireless, battery-operated and remote-controlled, allowing for a range of realistic combat medicine scenarios. Their eyes dilate, they secrete liquid from the eyes, nose and mouth, they bleed from severed limbs, and cough and moan.
If medics don't stop the bleeding, the mannequin will "die" just like a real patient. Sometimes simulations involve human actors whose lower limbs are concealed, covered by mannequin legs that are severed and bleeding profusely. (Check out the vid below featuring an injured SimMan Essential mannequin in Norway.)
Such grisly scenes are being played out at U.S. military training centers at home and abroad in an attempt to improve the effectiveness of first responders. Computers monitor how medics react to simulations and the debriefing data helps them improve their performance.
Lt. Col. Wilson Ariza, who manages the U.S. Army Medical Simulation Project, says a Pentagon study credits the program with saving the lives of 1,000 soldiers, CNN reported.
Not bad for a bunch of dummies.