Washington University in St. Louis has stopped using sedated cats to train medical students how to insert breathing tubes down the throats of babies, effectively ending the practice in the U.S., according to a medical ethics group.
The Washington University School of Medicine said in a statement on Monday that after a "significant investment" in its simulation center, it will now provide neonatal intubation training using only mannequins and advanced simulators.
The university says improvements in simulators make the change possible. Cats currently at the university are being adopted by medical center employees.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a medical ethics non-profit, applauded the decision. The committee says the St. Louis program was the last of the 198 U.S. pediatrics programs still using cats.