PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Medical Center has ended the practice of using live pigs for emergency medicine training, falling in line with a national trend in which hospitals opt for high-tech simulators.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said the action was taken after it raised the issue.
The committee says it was once common for medical students to use pigs to practice tracheotomies, insert breathing tubes, and procedures that open the chest. The animals are euthanized afterward.
Maine Medical Center used 13 pigs for its medical training program, based on an annual report to the USDA in 2018. The hospital also used 89 other animals, mostly mice, in research.