Rush University Medical Center adopts virtual reality for OB/GYN residents

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OB/GYN residents at Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center will no longer practice operations on female pigs — instead, they'll utilize a virtual reality simulator, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Beginning in August, residents will be able to use a joystick and other surgical tools while they "conduct" various procedures on a virtual patient. The software "allows you to fail without any repercussions to anyone," said Xavier Pombar, DO, Rush's OB/GYN residency program director. "It also [prompts] residents to keep practicing and receive immediate feedback at the end of the session."

The new software is specifically made for OB/GYN training, according to Shalin Gala, a laboratory methods specialist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA and Rush partnered to split the $12,000 cost of the software after Rush agreed to halt the use of training on animals in its OB/GYN residency program.

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