Ruth Lee produces water rescue manikin with lungs
An elite British Special Forces unit has helped to design a revolutionary lifelike manikin as part of its intensive training to save lives at sea.
The unit, which is part of the Royal Navy, has been training with the world’s first Advanced Water Rescue manikin.
Based on a man called Carl, it’s 5ft 9in tall, weighs 52kg, has immaculate teeth and has even got ‘lungs’. He even comes with soft feet and wellington boots and can be dressed according to requirements.
There are more than 500 copies of Carl’s body in use in medical and nursing establishments around the world.
Manufacturing company Ruth Lee, is based in Corwen, North Wales.
“Special Forces teams asked us to create a world first drowning manikin for them to allow both rescue and critical care training,” says Paul McDonnell, MD.
“Our innovative product, made in collaboration with Lifecast Body Simulation [where Carl works], is the first to allow teams to provide true continuation of care.
“It has been specially designed to be rescued from water and allows for lifesaving intervention with the realism of noises and respiratory issues encountered in the real world. It means rescue teams can be trained for the skills they will need in the real world.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” says Liz Baugh, lead medical consultant at Red Square Medical, which provides medical services for the maritime sector.
“Usually we simulate resuscitation on normal manikins in a classroom environment and simulate man-over-board rescues with a manikin in the water, and there’s no link up between the two.
“This manikin enhances our training dramatically not just from the perspective of how it feels to lift a real weight out of the water, but what’s it’s like to resuscitate a realistically feeling body. Because he is so realistic, it adds an additional layer of emotional reaction on top.
“Bringing this level of realism to my crew is going to enhance their reactions and their responses.”
The RNLI, Bristow Search and Rescue, the UK’s search and rescue helicopter service, several Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Paramedic teams and also the Maritime Skills Academy, have all supported the development of the manikin with rigorous testing and trials, says Ruth Lee.
The £25,000 Advanced Water Rescue manikin floats like an unconscious person but can also be weighted to partially or fully sink to increase the realism of rescue.
When in water, the hydrostatic squeeze (pressure of the water) closes a valve within the lung mechanics. Once rescued from water, the mechanism releases, creating movement of the lungs and chest.
Submerging the manikin creates an amount of water in the oropharynx, the middle part of the throat behind the mouth, which can be removed using manual or suction methods.
The drowning mechanics even allows for the manikin to create ‘foam’ to replicate the noises and foaming commonly seen in drowning people. When people drown they can inhale 30mls of water into the lungs, and the manikin is able to replicate this phenomenon, as well as allowing for dry lung drownings.