Greenville, NC -- A nonprofit physicians' group is criticizing East Carolina University for using ferrets to train pediatric residents at the medical school on how to insert a breathing tube.
The Daily Reflector of Greenville reported the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says it's not necessary to use ferrets. The Washington, D.C.-based group says students at the Brody School of Medicine could use simulators, which are mannequin-like medical devices.
East Carolina's Dr. James Cummings says the ferrets are unconscious during the procedure. He says a research committee that oversees Brody's use of animals agrees that ferrets are a superior training method.
A survey conducted by the physicians' committee shows only 10 of 185 pediatric residency programs in the country use animals for the training. Brody is the only one in North Carolina.