Cadaver Lab Workshop

Yesterday afternoon, the emergency medicine interest group (EMIG), a student run organization, showed students how to insert a chest tube, how to intubate, and how to administer simple interrupted sutures. We also got to learn some off shoots like basic neck anatomy (to help understand the intubation process), using a staple gun (in place of sutures), and bagging patients.

For many of us, this workshop was the first time we had actually worked with unembalmed cadavers. Why did we use them? For the simple fact that their anatomy behaves more like a living person. What’s the point of learning how to suture on an embalmed cadaver when “living” skin has far more elasticity and tensile strength?

At every cadaver, there were three TA’s (one teaching suturing, one chest tubes, and one intubation). We had thirty minutes for each skill, and then rotated at the same cadaver to the next skill.

Let me be the first to tell you that no matter what you’ve seen on TV regarding intubation… it’s pretty difficult. It took me two tries to finally get it, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to mess up.

  1. Does all your equipment work properly?
  2. Is the patient’s head in the “sniffing” position?
  3. Use your dominant hand to open the patient’s mouth using the “snapping motion.”
  4. Start from the right side of the patient’s tongue and sweep to the left as you insert the laryngoscope?
  5. How do you know that you’re in the trachea and not the esophagus?
  6. Inflate the balloon and auscultate for equal breath sounds.

Suturing was really fun too! At this point, I think it just takes a lot of practice to improve a.) technique and b.) speed, but I feel that there’s still plenty of time for that.

Overall, the workshop was really impressive. Everything was set up, the TA’s were fantastic and extremely helpful, and I learned a lot!

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