Cincinnati Children's stops practicing breathing tube insertion on cats after 20 years

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center ended a 20-year practice of teaching physicians to insert breathing tubes by practicing on live cats, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Four things to know:

1. Pulmonary specialist Robert E. Wood, PhD, MD, has taught a course on pediatric flexible bronchoscopy at Cincinnati Children's since 1999. In that time, physicians taking the course have practiced breathing tube insertions on more than 370 cats.

2. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a complaint to Cincinnati Children's about the practice Jan. 24 after a whistle-blower reported that a cat used in the course died from anesthesia-related complications last year.

3. PETA argued Cincinnati Children's can use human simulators for training programs, rather than live animals.

4.Margaret Hostetter, MD, chairwoman of Cincinnati Children's pediatrics department, said the hospital would end the practice in a Feb. 8 response to PETA's complaint.

"I have discussed this matter with Dr. Wood, and he understands that he and any other physicians who may teach the pediatric flexible bronchoscopy postgraduate course in the future will no longer use animals," she told PETA. "This prohibition has been communicated to Dr. Wood and his colleagues."

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