A different kind of practice drill

Zombie Apocalypse Scenario

ROCHESTER, MN — There are a lot of situations medical students need to be prepared for, but Saturday a group from Mayo Medical School thought outside the box a bit and trained for a zombie apocalypse.

The event looked like a scene from horror movie but the tactic behind it is all about saving lives and preparing the next generation of doctors.

“We’ve seen a couple come in with c-spine injuries and the types of things we would be treating in the emergency department,” said first year Mayo Med School student Amelia Van Handel.

Med school students and some Boy and Girl Scouts dealt with scenarios that they may face in everyday life; the only difference is they fought off zombies.

“We’re treating both those affected by the viral illness that’s causing the zombification as well as victims of the violence that’s ensuing,” Van Handel said.

But how does treating a zombie apocalypse translate into the real world?

“Everything from planning this to working as a team and quickly having a meeting, deciding how are we going to do it better coming up? Very realistic lessons in a very safe learning environment,” said Dr. Walter Franz, a Mayo Physician and U.S. Army Colonel.

He said teaching some of these military techniques can translate well into the civilian world.

“What we’re trying to do here is teach some of those aspects, especially good organization, communication and team approach during times of chaos,” Franz said.

Whether the helicopters and patients are real or not, the first year medical school students said this preparation is priceless.

“This is the type of stuff that we love to do because it’s a reminder of what you’re planning for. I mean, we spend so much time in the classroom and it can seem like you’re just going to be in a classroom forever, but getting out here on the weekends kind of says this is my goal,” Van Handel said.

When you decide to go to Mayo Medical School, it does not say anything about a zombie apocalypse.

“This is a very pleasant surprise and it’s exciting. There’s so many opportunities being at Mayo and this is just one of them,” Van Handel said.

She said zombie apocalypse or not, the emotions are the same. People are still concerned about their family members and getting the proper treatment.

Franz said these students must still treat the patients as if they were human. They have to decide where they need to be taken for treatment and determine what it will take to heal them.

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