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New Mannequin Helps First Responders Save Lives

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A life-saving tool has a life of its own. Creators of the Trauma Hal mannequin unveiled it to first responders this weekend.

As Gigi Barnett explains, the state-of-the-art mannequin is changing the way medics train for life-and-death emergencies.

Trauma Hal is having a bad day. He just took a terrible fall and has gone into seizures.

It's the spur-of-the-moment type of training paramedics say can mean the difference between life and death. And with the press of a button, Trauma Hal, a new cutting-edge patient/mannequin can change health conditions in an instant.

"The word we use is realism," said Jonathan Cabral.

Cabral is a vice president at Gaumard, a Miami-based simulation company that created Trauma Hal. He says the demand from doctors, medics and first responders in the military for more life-like mannequins that respond to real medical equipment is overwhelming.

"There's been an evolution revolution of simulation within the health care community and it's really exploding within the United States right now," Cabral said.

Trauma Hal can cry, he has a pulse and he speaks.

While mannequins like Trauma Hal are turning the EMS field on its ear, experts say practicing on a mannequin like this---for non-first responders---the learning curve is even higher.

"They're used to the CPR mannequins that are clicking whenever they're doing chest compressions," said Ben Ellis.

Ellis is a former paramedic turned professor. He says a mannequin like Trauma Hal ensures that lifesaving lessons learned won't be forgotten when the real thing strikes.

"Whenever we have their training look exactly like the real thing, now they revert back to that training," Ellis said.

Which starts with a mannequin that's awfully close to life.

The Trauma Hal mannequin hit the market about a year ago.

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