How The Matrix, American Horror Story are advancing medical education

The companies that have produced some of Hollywood's best special effects are now bringing their talents to medical education simulators.

For example, the talent behind the special effects in The Matrix, The Chamberlain Group, produced a mannequin with a beating heart for Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital that allows residents to perform an emergency department thoracotomy, according to The New York Times.

Fractured FX, which produced the Emmy-award winning effects for American Horror Story, designed two simulators for Boston Children's Hospital, one that replicates a heart-lung bypass with pulsing veins and another for draining fluid from a brain, according to the report. The company's CEO, Justin Raleigh, told The New York Times the materials used in the hospital simulators are the same as those used on a movie set, but the standards of realism are higher at the hospital. The hospital simulators were designed after hours of research and discussion with engineers and physicians, according to the report.  

Both hospitals plan to sell these simulators and the associated training programs to other teaching hospitals, so more residents can practice actual procedures in a realistic, simulated environment, according to the report.

Massachusetts General has already expanded its simulators to 10 departments, including the emergency room, according to the report. Boston Children's is developing a component where physicians can 3-D print an actual child's tumor and practice removing it in the simulation first, according to the report.


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