A Sarasota company is tickled pink that its products are making a big impression on the royal couple during the newlyweds’ tour this week of Canada and the U.S.
METI, which designs human patient simulators for use in the health care industry, of course, likes the publicity too.
During a stop at the University of Calgary on Thursday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge interacted with a METI manufactured simulator at the university’s research center.
The sophisticated electronic dummy, which can simulate human responses like bleeding and breathing, had a “heart attack,” prompting William to use his rescue pilot training and do chest compressions. He then used a hand-held defibrillator to “save” the patient’s life.
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When the human simulator regained consciousness, he groggily responded -- “Thank you for saving me, your Royal Highness.”
“You’re welcome,” William responded, as Kate, standing nearby, gave a laugh.
It wasn’t the first time that METI, which has been manufacturing the devices for the past 15 years at its Bee Ridge Road location, has had the spotlight shown on its product.
The realistic-looking dummies have appeared on ER and Grey’s Anatomy and they’ve also had another royal -- William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth -- interact with another iStan model in 2009 during a visit to Thames Valley University in London.
“Everyone at METI is excited,” said Tess Mitchell, METI’s vice president of marketing. “Almost everyone here loves the royals.”
The company got a heads up that iStan might get a royal preview last week when its sales representative in Canada told them about the couple’s planned visit to the medical facility.
The simulator, whose eyes dilate, has a pulse along with human-like skin, has some basic verbal responses programed into it like, “Ouch,” and “That hurts.” But a wireless microphone also can be used to give immediate responses through a speaker in the simulator’s head.
Apparently some nursing students came up with the impromptu, “Thank you for saving my life response” that generated the chuckles and smiles from the royal couple.
Mary Cantrell, director of Manatee Technical Institute, knows how important the simulators are since the technical training facility uses METI dummies for classroom work for students studying to become paramedics, nurses and even dentists.
“They are extremely realistic, and they make you as prepared as you can be without having the actual event happen,” she said. “In fact simulator time can often be counted as clinical time.”
About 7,000 of the devices, which cost an average of $70,000 a piece but can go up to $250,000, are in use world wide to train health personnel, Mitchell said, as well as the military.
The private company, which had $56 million in revenue last year, is experiencing a growth spurt after a slowdown two years ago, she said.
Several projects are in a development stage including a prototype female human simulator that gives birth which is expected to debut in 2013.