The Mobile Obstetric Emergencies Simulator (MOES) doesn't sound like something that is cutting-edge technology and can potentially save the Department of Defense millions of dollars in malpractice suits, especially when it only costs $20,000 to create.

Designed by Lt. Col. (Dr.) Shad Deering and the staff at the Charles Andersen Simulation Center, MOES is expected to reduce obstetric legal claims for the DoD, and avoid deaths linked to maternal emergencies. And Deering might earn a patent for his efforts, as his invention is under review right now by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Maryland.

The simulator is a full-size birthing mannequin and system that can show maternal and fetal vital signs and simulate the most common obstetric emergencies in a realistic manner.

Doctors, nurses and technicians on Madigan Healthcare System's Labor and Delivery ward use the "mechanical mom" to evaluate and educate residents and staff on situations that can arise during a delivery like post-partum hemorrhaging (the number one cause of obstetric death), fetal distress requiring an operative delivery by either forceps or vacuum or neonatal resuscitation, where a baby is born not breathing.

The MOES program, developed by the Andersen Simulation Center, is more than just a birthing simulator. Every Department of Defense hospital that conducts deliveries and the University of Washington Medical Center are using the program.

Medical professionals have descended upon Madigan Annex for a two-day training course to learn how to implement this at their location. The training also served as a great opportunity to teach communication improvement techniques like Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance & Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS).

"Communication errors are the root cause of 60 to 70 percent of adverse outcomes," Deering said. "It only makes sense to focus our efforts and resources on that."

A version of MOES has also been developed for the Iraqis to assist them with having a basic obstetric emergency course for their medical staff.

OB/GYN residents can learn how to address situations they'll see as staff in a no-risk environment. Residents are not allowed to perform deliveries on real patients when emergencies occur, so the simulator provides hands-on practice for real-life situations.

"It allows them to get their hands in there and know what each emergency or complication feels like," he said. "MOES highlights our complete commitment to our Soldiers and their families to provide the best-trained team possible at the time of delivery. This confidence is of the utmost importance while our Soldiers are deployed in harm's way overseas."

Madigan is at the forefront of simulation training for obstetric emergencies, as physicians have published multiple papers in leading scientific journals describing its use to improve physician performance during obstetric emergencies and fetal outcomes.

"This position affords us the unique opportunity and obligation to utilize our expertise in this area for the purpose of improving patient safety, training better physicians and as our ultimate goal, obtain the optimal outcomes for our patients regardless of their situations," Deering said.