Revamped Surgical Simulation Center opens at Baylor

The former site of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey’s experimental surgery laboratory is still home to innovation. A portion of that space on the fourth floor of the Cullen building at Baylor College of Medicine is the site of the newly remodeled Surgical Simulation Center.

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A ribbon cutting was held Feb. 11 to mark the new space and additions to the lab, including multiple state-of-the-art surgical simulators. Guests of the event were able to test out some of the equipment that will be used for training basic surgical skills such as laparoscopy, surgical biopsy, endoscopy and catheterization.

“I think it is wonderful that those involved in creating this space were able to turn it into something worthy of our legendary surgical department,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, president and CEO of Baylor. “The new technology and facilities show that this department is at the top of its game and only getting stronger.”

Education is at the heart of the center. Students, residents, fellows and faculty will use the center to advance their clinical and technical skills, learning at their own pace during times that fit their schedule. Surgeons and healthcare providers will use the center for continuing education and team training, in order to learn innovative and cutting-edge techniques in a virtual environment before performing procedures on patients.

“Creating this center is truly a collaborative project that we hope will have benefits across multiple departments and institutions,” said Dr. Todd Rosengart, professor and chair of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery. “We are looking forward to this center being a critical component in our surgical education and research in the Texas Medical Center.”

The center’s reach goes beyond the just the TMC. Just days after the ribbon cutting, the city of Houston’s Tactical Medical Team, called on by the Houston Police SWAT team during high risk encounters, used the surgical training area to help simulate emergency response scenarios.

On Feb. 13, seven Houston Fire Department paramedics and emergency physicians took part in the training. This is the third year the group has used Baylor as a training site.

“We try to prepare them to respond to scenarios while facing sounds of gunfire, screaming, darkness and other similar challenges they might face in a real emergency situation,” said Dr. David Persse, professor of medicine – emergency medicine at Baylor and the city’s EMS director who helped organize the training session.

Dr. Brad Scott, associate professor of surgery at Baylor, also helped to organize the training session. Lab manager Deborah Taylor played a key role in making sure the lab was ready for use and coordinated the activities with other departments at Baylor.