WTNH) -- A national advocacy group has filed a complaint against Hartford Hospital for using live animals for surgical training.
The nonprofit group says state-of-the-art simulators are used at most health facilities.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says it really comes down to the use of live animals, in the case of Hartford Hospital, a pig under anesthesia, to train doctors on emergency medical procedures to be performed on humans, instead of using the latest technology available.
Dr. Marjorie Cramer said, "I have a lot of trouble with the concept of using an animal, which doesn't really resemble a human very much, has different thickness of skin, has different tissues underneath the skin."
The alternative is using a simulator, which closely resembles human tissue. A training tool approved by the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Cramer is a retired plastic surgeon and is one of a handful of doctors who signed what they say is a criminal complaint against Hartford Hospital, that still uses live animals to train doctors in emergency medical procedures.
"If I were in a huge car accident and came into an emergency room and had someone try to save my life, I would feel a lot better had they practiced on a human based simulator," Dr. Cramer said.
A statement issued by Hartford Hospital says its' treatment of animals strictly adheres to the guidelines of the National Association of Biomedical Research stating "...scientific and medical knowledge developed through biomedical research and training has saved countless lives, has alleviated great pain and suffering, and has improved both animal and human health."
The nonprofit advocacy organization filed the complaint, alleging the hospital is in violation of animal cruelty.
"It is animal cruelty because it is gratuitous," said Dr. John Pippin. "It is unnecessary."
Dr. John Pippin is the PCRM Director of Academic Affairs.
"We've met resistance at every level," Dr. Pippin said. "We can't establish a dialogue about this so we feel compelled to take this to the next level."
He added Hartford Hospital is among five programs out of 278 in the U.S. and Canada still using live animals for trauma training.
The group has filed the complaint with the state's attorney for the Hartford Judicial District and is seeking for action to be taken.
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