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Press Releases

Friday, December 16, 2005

Kevin Ballinger, dean of Orange Coast College's Consumer and Health Sciences Division, is a proud new papa.

Well, sort of.

Ballinger is actually the father of a grown son. His "new baby" is a simulated infant that has been added to OCC's Consumer and Health Sciences Division. The baby, which measures 28 inches long and weighs 21 pounds, is an interactive infant simulator that has been informally named "Baby Hoagie" — though its official designation is BabySIM.

The baby has the physical attributes of a three to six-month old infant.

The medical equivalent of a pilot's flight simulator, Baby Hoagie is hooked up to a monitor and displays all vital signs of life. It can be a girl or boy, depending upon the medical scenario, and can cry, wet a diaper, clinch its fists, sneeze, drool, and react to medical treatment and drugs. The baby has a strong pulse, heart functions, eyes that dilate and blink, and it exhales carbon dioxide.

BabySIM feels realistic to the touch, and possesses a loving layer of baby fat.

Should students make mistakes in treating Baby Hoagie, the simulator can "die." OCC's instructors are able to program a variety of symptoms, illnesses and conditions into the infant simulator for student diagnosis.

After receiving a $42,000 grant last summer from the George Hoag Family Foundation of Santa Monica, plus money from OCC's Foundation and from state sources, the college purchased the $59,000 human baby simulator this fall for use by students enrolled in the college's School of Allied Health Professions.

OCC is the first community college in California to possess a BabySIM. Four years ago, Orange Coast College became the first of California's 109 community colleges to have the adult patient simulator on campus, purchased for $200,000.

The only other BabySIM in the state of California is currently being used by medical students at the University of California, Davis.

BabySIM and the adult human patient simulator are manufactured by Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI) of Sarasota, Fla. BabySIM is being used by students training in OCC's Respiratory Care, Cardiovascular Technology, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Neurodiagnostic Technology, Radiology, and Emergency Medical Technology departments.

"Such critical care interventions as infant CPR, airway interventions, drug administration and defibrillation can be applied to BabySIM," says Ballinger.

"The new simulator is preparing Orange Coast College allied health students to face critical events involving babies that are routinely encountered in real-world health care situations. Babies are our most vulnerable patients, and OCC wants its students to be fully competent in dealing with any crisis that might arise."

OCC's full-size adult simulator — nicknamed "Big Kev" in honor of the OCC dean — has been providing students with valuable on-campus training for four years. Baby Hoagie is located in a laboratory that was specifically remodeled several years ago to accommodate the adult simulator.

For information about OCC's School of Allied Health Professions, phone (714) 432-5702.