In The News

Butler Tech robot patient: Never well but always well-liked

May 18, 2016  |  Butler Tech Bioscience Campus
Butler Tech Bioscience Campus

Journal News


He is by far the worst patient at this bioscience health program.

He is always sick - sometimes violently so – and often screams loudly while having heart attacks, bleeding from wounds and suffering tremors.

And his complaints are unending and at times unnerving.

That’s all in a day’s work if you are “Sim Man” – a $125,000 simulated patient in Butler Tech’s new Bioscience School in West Chester Township.

The rubberized mannequin is often the focal point of frenzied activity as the high school juniors and seniors scramble to relieve whatever the robotic patient’s latest health crisis might be.

Those heart attacks, nausea, tremors, seizures, wounds, collapsed lungs, dehydration, vomiting, nasal discharges and sweating are all controlled by a nearby operator watching through a two-mirror.

Despite his sickly ways, Sim Man – or Sim Woman if a female operator decides to speak through the patient in place of the recorded male voice – is a favorite of the students.

“It’s amazing we have Sim Man at the high school level,” said Ryan De Noma, a junior in Butler Tech’s Health Technology program.

“He really prepares you for real-life situations,” said Ryan after performing chest compressions on the fake patient to kick-start his heart after his cardiac arrest.

Abbie Cook, supervisor of the Butler Tech Bioscience Center, which opened in September, is a big fan of the high-tech learning tool.

“Sim Man is an incredible addition to all the programs at the Bioscience Center. He allows our students additional opportunities for hands-on patient care and patient assessment,” said Cook.

“While we provide many opportunities for off-campus clinical experiences, the more experiential learning the better. These are some of the experiences that not only make lasting impressions on their (student) learning, but help spark a passion for their future,” said Cook.

The new Bioscience Center campus - standing high on a hill over the Interstate 75 and Cincinnati-Dayton Road interchange - is the most visible and recent example of the growing medical services corridor along highway though Butler County.

Sally Muenchen, a registered nurse and health technology instructor, said “Sim Man is the closest we can get to an actual medical emergency in a learning environment without having actual patients here.”

“Students have to identify what the problem is and how they are going to treat it,” she said.

Butler Tech senior Gabriella Rodrigez is fond of Mr. Man.

“He is really good. He functions when we need him to and he helps us learn how we need to take care of people in a real-life, fast moving situation.”

Visit the Journal News website to see video of the students in action.