Oklahoma City technology center gets rare approval for cadaver lab

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For the first time in Oklahoma, a technology center is offering training on cadavers. Metro Tech opened its cadaver lab last month.

Historically, first responders and other professionals would have access to that training alongside medical students at the OU Health Science Center, but that halted when the pandemic began.

That’s why Metro Tech leaders got to work getting rare approval to open their own.

“We have to have a private entrance to bring the body in, the air handling in the room has to have so many turnover per hour for adequate air flow,” and that is just some of the criteria required, according to the program’s coordinator, Jason Lankford.

Last month, Metro Tech hosted its first lab with dozens of first responders present for a simulated field amputation. It was prompted by an actual field amputation that was necessary when a man got his arm caught in a conveyer belt while working at an Oklahoma City scrapyard.

“Here on this table we were able to do a field amputation and they came in and amputated this patient’s leg mid-femur just like they did the month prior,” Lankford said.

The cadaver lab at Metro Tech.

The program only has a few more labs planned for the immediate future, for now scheduled on an as-need basis, and in conjunction with partners EMSA and OUHSC.

The program is extremely respectful of the people who donated their bodies to science.

Their privacy is strictly guarded, in fact it would be a felony for a KFOR camera crew or any other cameras to be present in the room with cadavers.

“There is no greater gift than to educate the next generation of medical professionals and let them use your body at that moment,” Lankford said.

That’s because it affords medical professionals real experience that cannot compare to practice on even the most advanced medical training mannequins.

“When they’re in an ambulance by themselves, it’s just them, and they have to be proficient,” Lankford said of the paramedics who will benefit from the opportunities. “There is no room for error.”

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