Theatrical Blood Effects Part 4 – From

medical simulation squib

Part 4 of’s article on Theatrical Blood Effects for Realistic Casualty Simulation has been released! Written by Suzanne Patterson, Curriculum Development Specialist / Instructor at Military Moulage, this is the next installment after part 3 covered covered some important elements to keep in mind for maintaining high realism results when selecting and using theatrical bloods in your casualty simulation event or training exercise. In part 4, Suzanne shares a few extra tips, tricks, and techniques we have employed and that you might find useful for your own active bleeding scenario requirements, including how to “release” effects at the right time using Squibs and pumps.

“Active bleeding is arguably central in creating a believable injury simulation psyche, from drips to flows, and there are a number of ways to rig blood loss from small areas all the way to significant hemorrhaging. For instance, blood trickles or drips from the mouth can be easily achieved from pre-filled gelatin-based blood capsules held in the mouth until bitten to give a slow bloody drip effect. We like to rig a small cut piece of cell-like sponge soaked in edible theatrical blood, and when placed in the mouth next to the lips it mixes with the saliva to make a nice dripping consistency. When ready to drip it out the actor simply inserts the sponge and manipulates it a bit with the teeth. For nosebleeds we also use specially made reticulated sponges prepared with edible blood that, when inserted in the nostrils, will “bleed” automatically upon the actor breathing through the nose. If you need a semi-drying dripped blood look from the ears, mouth corners, or nose that needs to be more stationary, we use blood colored gelatin to which some blood paste or additional glycerin has been added for a slightly wet effect. Our favorite trick is to use a scar making material mixed with some theatrical blood product. This method gives very high realism for film and TV use, and the best part is it’s durable and waterproof in wear.

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Squibs and pump assemblies are great to use when you need a more significant amount of blood flow, such as from gunshots, impalement (stabbing), amputations, etc. Blood squibs are small sealed bags of liquid blood that are hidden under clothing, and that can be pyrotechnically rigged to explode, mechanically operated to flow by pneumatic liquid means, or simply break open upon surface impact. Pyrotechnic blood squibs involve electrical charges that trigger a ballistic action to spatter the blood bag, and that can be very dangerous or fatal if not done by a professionally trained and licensed technician. We prefer to use mechanically rigged squibs and pump assemblies because most often on a training exercise these have to be operated directly by the role player portraying the injury. One type of safe squib we make is from a dissolvable plasticized material containing blood powder, and rigged with a fast acting dissolving fluid that creates a gravity blood flow. This works great under clothing for gunshots or impalements. You can make your own blood squib bags to size from many kinds of pneumatic capable or collapsible containments, such as litre bottles, plastic zip close food bags, and even small cut off fingers of disposable gloves. They can be custom rigged to flow or release theatrical blood in a variety of ways and in the manner you need them to flow.”

Read the full 4-part series on!

One Week Left to Secure Early-Bird Rate for SimGHOSTS 2014 USA Sim Tech Training Event

sim tech training

SimGHOSTS have sent word that they have already crossed over the limited number of early-bird passes to the 2014 USA sim tech hands-on training — but the board of directors wanted to give Sim Techs out there who want to secure an additional $100 off the price of their registration one more chance to sign up early before tickets shift into full price.

Taking place August 5th – 8th at the American College of CHEST Physicians in outer Chicago, IL — over 100 Sim Techs from all around the world including Australia, the UK, Saudi Arabia, the US, Canada, and Russia are already coming together to train one another and connect with their professional community. Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to get the hands-on training you need to increase efficiency and realism in your medical simulation program!

Learn all about it at the SimGHOSTS 2014 USA Homepage.

SimGHOSTS is the original, most affordable and only hands-on training event started and managed by Sim Techs. Looking to start or expand your operations of simulation technology? Dollar for dollar and day for day, your value cannot be met at any other event! Now an official 501(c)3, SimGHOSTS has been providing the much needed training and community support for those responsible for operating the day-to-day technical operations of medical simulation lab spaces since 2011. Thousands of Sim Techs from around the world have benefitted from this unique organization.

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Did you know there are over 50 new Sim Tech specific courses at this year’s event? Courses include:

  • Audio Post-Production
  • Casting & Molding Task Trainers
  • Laerdal Hardware
  • B-Line Medical In-Situ AV
  • Inventory Management
  • Worldpoint Realistic Cut Suit
  • DIY Sim Project Build Forum & B-Line Medical Innovation Awards
  • Cinematography 101
  • Preventative Manikin Maintenance 101
  • Laerdal Advanced Simulator Care and Maintenance
  • Moulage Mastery ‑ Theatrical Trauma for the Advanced User
  • Healthcare Basics for Technical Folks
  • IT Networking for Sim 101
  • CAE Learning Space Introduction
  • Fabricating for the Sim Lab
  • Advanced Editing
  • Sim Tech Professional Development Workshops
  • Level 3 Medical Overview of a Sim Lab Build-Out
  • Much much more!

Come to SimGHOSTS to see the latest in medical simulation technology from fifteen of the world’s leading industry vendors!

simghosts 2014 usa vendors

Register TODAY for SimGHOSTS 2014 USA to secure your early-bird registration before its too late!

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Recap of ECU “Go SIMple” Conference

ecu go simple medical simulation event

North Carolina’s “The Daily Reflector” covered the recent East Carolina University “Go SIMple” regional simulation conference event. The event was a way to showcase the labs as well as bring simulation champions from around North Carolina and the country together to share best practices. SimGHOSTS President James Cypert was also in attendance to remind participants about the need for supporting technicians who operate medical simulation technology.

Excerpt from The Daily Reflector:

“Approximately 150 health care professionals from across the state visited ECU on May 30 for WakeMed Health & Hospitals Go SIMple Conference, which featured lectures and training on the use of simulation technology in education. Attendees included nurses, paramedics, doctors and physician assistants.

“ECU was the perfect place to hold this conference because it is an area where simulation is growing and impacting health care providers,” Amar Patel, director of the Center for Innovative Learning at WakeMed, said.

The event was an opportunity to showcase the college’s facilities and share expertise in the educational use of manikin-based and virtual simulation, said Laura Gantt, executive director of Support Services, Learning Technologies and Labs for the ECU College of Nursing. It’s an important time to talk about simulation in eastern North Carolina, she said. “Many organizations are just getting patient simulators and are having to figure out a range of things from how to put them together to how to best use them,” she said.

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The benefits of interprofessional education and partnerships were also highlighted during the conference’s keynote address. It was delivered by James Cypert, interim president of nonprofit organization SimGHOSTS, which supports professionals operating medical simulation technology. He also is on staff at the California Baptist University School of Nursing.

Cypert encouraged health care professionals to reach out to IT departments at their workplaces and engage them in their work. Those in university settings would be wise to build relationships with engineering programs, he advised.

But most important, he said, is to be someone who is not scared by change. “The technology comes … and builds up fear and anxiety,” Cypert said. “It’s not beyond you. There are usually eight to 10 ways you can do exactly the same thing.” Cypert encouraged attendees to simply “find the one that works for you.”

Read the full story on The Reflector’s website, or visit the Go SIMple Conference Page here!

B-Line Medical “DIY Sim Lab Project” Video Contest Highlights Innovation for SimGHOSTS Australia

b-line medical

Ten SimGHOSTS 2014 Australia participants have submitted “DIY Projects” that increased lab efficiency or realism to the B-Line Medical Video Contest. You can visit the contest page and watch all the submitted DIY projects so that you too can learn how to increase realism and efficiency in your medical simulation program. Up to $1000 in prizes are being offered this year, including an iPad Air and GoPro 3, to be given away by B-Line Medical’s Sandy Yin — who had this to say about Sim Techs and SimGHOSTS:

“Simulation Technicians are the backbone of any program, from troubleshooting simulator equipment to maintaining networks and fielding interesting end user requests. But when sim techs do their jobs well, they’re invisible! We see you, sim techs of the world. We see you even when you’re under a pile of cables, or covered in fake blood.” – Sandy Yin, Marketing Strategist @ B-Line Medical

Videos will not be judged on production quality as much as ability to demonstrate and teach others how they can duplicate these DIY project in their own sim labs! Check out this entry by Suzy O’Brien from the University of the Sunshine Coast on “BGL – Simulated Blood and Hand”:

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About B-Line: B‑Line Medical makes software that helps healthcare professionals and educators improve the delivery of healthcare. Focused on the capture, debriefing, and assessment of medical training and clinical events, B‑Line Medical specializes in the delivery of robust, yet easy-to-use web-based solutions. Our software has helped over 300 top hospitals, medical schools, and nursing programs in 12 countries operate and manage their training and QI programs more effectively. Learn more at

Learn more at the SimGHOSTS 2014 Australia B-Line Medical DIY Contest Page!

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Invite to Read Over 100 Simulation Product Reviews Goes Out to HealthySim Subscribers

simulation product reviews

“Konsiderate is an absolute requirement to improve Sim Lab purchasing decisions”. -Scott Crawford, MD

Today, the new peer-written ratings and reviews website for medical simulation products and services, is releasing closed-beta. During alpha development more than 160 simulation champions from around the world logged in with their professional LinkedIn accounts and provided more than 100 reviews. I can’t thank those of you enough that helped us “launch” and have taken our surveys, tested the website, emailed me with feedback or encouragement — and so now after many months of hard work…

We are now inviting 2,500 HealthySim Newsletter Subscribers to join us!

Having lived through making my own purchasing decision mistakes while managing a simulation program, I know first hand how time consuming and difficult selecting the right products and services can be — especially when hundreds of thousands of dollars and your program’s performance outcomes are on the line.

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I have always wondered, alongside many other simulation champions, why is there no “yelp”, “tripadvisor”, “amazon”, “rottentomatoes” or other comparable review website for medical simulation products and services? Wouldn’t we all rather read hundreds of reviews before spending that much money year after year?


New today with Konsiderate’s closed-beta is the opportunity to see more ratings and review content than ever before when logging on with their LinkedIn profile. First-time users willing to contribute a single review will also be granted full access to more than 100 reviews already written by other simulation champions from around the world.

As HealthySim readers clearly want to stay on the cutting edge of medical simulation, I really look forward to reading your reviews and hearing your feedback!

Onion: Modernized Space Camp Allows Kids To Simulate Frustration Over Lack Of Funding

the onion

For a Friday I thought this story from unreliable news source “The Onion” was pretty spot on, where kids get to simulate the frustration of a real american astronaut — whose scientific projects are scrapped after years of hard work!

HUNTSVILLE, AL—Aiming to provide attendees with an authentic glimpse into the nation’s space program, representatives for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center announced Thursday that its newly updated Space Camp will allow children to simulate the anger and mounting frustration experienced by NASA personnel over a continual lack of funding.

“At Space Camp, each attendee experiences the trials of real-life astronauts who simply are not provided the resources they need to explore outer space,” said director Deborah Barnhart, noting that campers get a firsthand look at what it’s like to pursue cutting-edge astronomical research on a budget that, when adjusted for inflation, is a mere fraction of what it was in the 1960s.

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“Our campers endure constant setbacks throughout their week here, from engaging in spaceflight training modules that can be shut down at a moment’s notice, to working tirelessly on a solar probe project only to be informed that an across-the-board spending freeze has led to the indefinite suspension of their work.”Kids will walk away from a week at Space Camp knowing exactly what it’s like to be an American astronaut,” she added.”

Funny, but sadly too true! Read the full satirical article on The Onion and enjoy your weekend!

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Next Wednesday: Medical Simulation Ratings & Reviews Website Konsiderate Opens Beta to HealthySim Audience


Over the past few months the new peer-written ratings and review website for medical simulation products and services called Konsiderate has worked with more than 160 champions from around the world during its initial alpha testing and development phase. Now with almost 100 reviews of 40 different medical simulation products and services, the closed alpha has completed its initial build-out testing and is ready to expand into a closed beta phase with invitations to thousands more medical simulation champions around the world.

About Konsiderate:

Konsiderate is a rating and review website that eliminates costly mistakes for capital equipment & service purchasers in the medical simulation industry, by harnessing community data to enable faster, more informed decisions. Konsiderate will become the new home for these medical simulation word-of-mouth conversations which currently take place in splintered online segments, or infrequent offline events.

Just as Yelp has revolutionized the b2c service industry, Konsiderate will revolutionize the specialized sector of the b2b medical simulation industry. Konsiderate helps simulation champions make better purchasing decisions with:

  • Quick access to legitimate reviews from experienced users
  • Filterable community-wide aggregated data of quality, value, and customer service ratings with textual reviews
  • Critical information impossible to gather first hand due to item costs and other restraints

Your Invitation:

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To gain access to Konsiderate a professional LinkedIn account with at least 15 connections is required – which helps users quickly connect to this growing platform while maintaining a legitimate community without anonymous reviews. As well, alpha and beta users are currently required to provide a first review before gaining access to the almost 100 other reviews already written by the international medical simulation community.

Limbs & Things, B-Line Medical, and VirtaMed customers have already gained access through special unlock codes to write and read reviews. Note: If you are client of these vendors and would like to gain access now — you can request a code by contacting your sales representative.

Because readers remain on the cutting edge of medical simulation news and resources, they will be the first major group to be invited to the closed beta. Next Wednesday, subscribers of’s free email newsletter will be provided a special invitation to join Konsiderate.

Visit now to learn more!

Bridging The Gap Between Clinical and Non-Clinical Simulation Technicians

Educating Non-Clinical Sim Techs in Need to Know PathophysiologyWritten By Guest Author Simulation Technician Lisa Schwaberow

training sim techs

The field of Simulation in the medical community is an exciting and fulfilling way to make a living. For those that are clinical it is a way to pass on what they know to others. For the non-clinical Sim Techs, it is a way to give back to the community. Assisting with the training of medical professionals who will save a life is very rewarding. In a way, the non-clinical person is helping save lives by helping others learn what they know. How gratifying it is to know that as a Sim Tech you are saving lives, and making a difference in this world. Being a Sim Tech is not just a 9-5 job, where you bring home a paycheck each week. The paycheck is a bonus. A Sim Tech, clinical or non-clinical is a very gratifying career.

There is a division in the field of Simulation Technology. There are Sim Techs that are clinical and Sim Techs that are not clinical. A Simulation center cannot exist without either of these roles. A clinical person will struggle with how the software works, or what to do when something goes wrong with the technology that is a big part of the simulation experience.  On the other hand the Sim Tech who is great with running the situation, they struggle with when to raise or lower the blood pressure in certain scenarios, or creating scenarios for clients that are medically accurate. They are both vitally important to one another.

Yes, a non-clinical Sim Tech can learn the terminology, reactions and pathophysiology of the human body. But if you are hiring a fairly new non-clinical Sim Tech don’t expect them to learn the terminology, the medicine effects, the circulation systems and all that Simulation entails, in a few months. Remember a clinical Sim Tech has been immersed in this knowledge for years. Be patient with the non-clinical Sim Tech, teach them what they need to know, help them in their journey to being a medical Sim Tech that can be a valuable part of the team. Chances are the non-clinical Sim Tech has an interest in medicine or they wouldn’t have gravitated towards this field.

If you are a non-clinical Sim Tech you may be asking what you can do to learn more about the pathophysiology of the human body. Hopefully you work in an environment that is supportive of your desire to learn. If you are not that fortunate, there are many apps for the ipad/iphone for assisting with this process. Here are several that are useful:

Here is an app that is great if you like to have fun while learning. This app is not a game but has some game like qualities. The app has quite a few cases. It involves a patient that has been admitted to the hospital and you must diagnose and treat them. You can choose to let the app give you a random case or you can choose the specific case you would like to test your skills on. There are cases for Emergency Medicine, Neurology, Gynecology, EMS Paramedic, Labor and Delivery, and Pediatrics. The starting screen is your patient lying on a hospital bed.  You then decide what to do next. You can read the history of the patient, and their symptoms. You then choose to hook up the patient monitor, start an IV, give a nasal cannula, run tests, and order consults. After you feel you have all the information you need you then put in a diagnosis. If you ran the tests that were necessary, and consulted the specialists, made a diagnosis and put it in, then you are ranked….it is very exciting to rank above student! This is a great way to practice what is being taught in the simulation classes.

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If you like to learn by memorization then this app might be appealing to you. It is the old fashion way of having index cards and flipping them, in a new high tech way. The beauty of this app is that you can create your own stack of cards or you can download sets that others have created. Most all of them are at little to no cost. Here is a screen shot of just a few of the stacks that are available.

clinical education for technicians

ACLS Megacodes – AHA Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support

This app is questions about ACLS. There are AHA Megacodes you “run”, choosing what you would do and it goes to the next question.  This app also has the ACLS Provider Manual, but you must purchase each module at $2.99. Another nice feature is the ACLS Calculators, everything from Glasgow Coma Scale to Unit Conversions. The useful calculators are included in the app and include 21 different modules. ACLS Flash cards are also included in this app. These are broken down into groups such as Bradycardia, Tachycardia, Cardiac Arrest and more, at no additional cost.

mega codes for sim tech training

Looking for a great Sim Tech? Lisa is looking to bring her technical experience to a new Sim Lab program so contact Lisa Schwaberow on LinkedIn!

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Limbs & Things Invites Customers to Review Their Products Through Konsiderate

konsideratesimcapture review

Konsiderate, the new ratings and review website for medical simulation products and services, garnered the support of several key industry vendors after the alpha launched at the Simulab Booth during IMSH 2014. The website is being developed to empower the growing international healthcare simulation community to make faster, more informed purchasing decisions regarding high cost equipment and services. Simply put, Konsiderate has been called the “Yelp for the Medical Simulation industry”.

Limbs & Things Invites Customers to Review Through Konsiderate

This week, leading industry vendor Limbs & Things is inviting clients to rate a selection of products through Since January, the Alpha test of the new website has allowed over 150 users from around the world to write and read almost 100 reviews on medical simulation products. Limbs & Things joins B-Line Medical and VirtaMed who have been inviting their users to Konsiderate this past month.

limbs n things

Limbs & Things Supports Peer-Reviews

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“In a sector where product choice can ultimately impact the quality of patient care, it is in all our interests to provide those sourcing healthcare simulation solutions with an accessible and independent peer-review platform. Konsiderate has been specifically designed for this purpose – with users in control of products chosen and the review content. Limbs & Things is excited to be involved and we look forward to reading reviews of our products to ensure our task trainers continue to offer the best simulation experience to users worldwide.” - Kate Fox Evans, Head of Marketing at Limbs & Things Ltd

Using their professional LinkedIn accounts, over 150 medical simulation champions from around the world have already used Konsiderate during the initial alpha phase of the website. Dozens of products have already been rated and reviewed by this initial test community including manikins, a/v systems, surgical simulators, learning management systems, task trainers and more.

If you have experience with Limbs & Things products you can gain access to by contacting your customer service or sales rep today. If you aren’t a customer of Limbs & Things, B-Line Medical or VirtaMed, you can apply to help with the 2nd phase of the alpha website development here, or sign up for the free HealthySim newsletter & HealthySim LinkedIn Group for special invitations coming soon!

Learn more about L&T on their website:

How They Make MATT: Multiple Amputee Trauma Trainer

multiple amputee trauma trainer

Today as we honor those who have provided or are currently providing military service comes this video from Kernerworks, formerly a movie special effects company now famous for working with MythBuster’s Jamie Hyneman to build the MATT: Multiple Amputee Trauma Trainer. From the show “Tested” comes this behind-the-scenes look at how MATT’s are built to be rugged enough for military environments while simultaneously creating life-like training opportunities for combat medics.

Kernerworks has its roots in the feature film industry. Most of our team have spent decades working on the design, conceptualization and delivery of some of the most memorable visual effects sequences in history. When developing visual effects for feature films like Star Wars, Terminator, and Pirates of the Caribbean there are a variety of one-off devices that are built for the production. Often, these items are entirely unique and must be fabricated quickly and on location. With several decades of experience on demanding film sets, our team can build just about anything and has the facilities to do so. Whether we are building a complex trauma simulation mannequins — complete with realistic skin, robotics, radio controllers and a variety of complex features — or a new kind of delivery system for the US Army, our team has the unique ability to conceptualize, design and build prototypes quickly and on a budget.

Here’s the MATT in action at the US Army’s Fort Jackson:

About Kernerworks and MATT:

At Kernerworks, we conceptualize, design, refine and then build disruptive solutions to a variety of problems. Our most successful project to date has been M.A.T.T., our Multiple Amputee Trauma Trainer. M.A.T.T. was initially developed in partnership between M5 Industries, Kerner Optical, KForce Government Solutions and RDECOM. M.A.T.T. (multiple amputee trauma trainer) has won numerous awards and is doing an excellent job training military medics for some of the most difficult situations they will face in the field.

Following on the success of M.A.T.T., Kernerworks has become the designer and manufacturer of the TraumaSim™ and TraumaFX line of products. The TraumaFX line is available exclusively through KForce Government Solutions.

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The TraumaFX product line introduced a new level of realism into the world of medical simulation. Our team’s long history of creating some of the most realistic creatures, models and human casts has allowed TraumaFX to leapfrog the level of realism that existed in the medical simulation industry before. The TraumaFX line has also introduced an entirely new level of robustness — our simulators are tough as nails and disturbingly realistic. Our TraumaSim™ training environments include highly realistic trauma simulation equipment, virtual training environments and gamified training platforms that provide both highly realistic trauma training as well as a form of PTSD ‘inoculation’ by preparing people for the realities of in-theater medical procedures.

matt combat simulator

About MATT:

The TraumaFX® MATT is a ruggedized, tetherless, remote controlled trauma trainer that delivers high-fidelity simulations of lower-body blast injuries commonly caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or other explosive events.

MATT employs state-of-the-art special effects materials and technologies to deliver incredibly realistic visual and tactile stimuli with lifelike response to treatment. Bleeding from the tourniquet trainers can be occluded at any point along the femoral artery from the groin to just above the amputation sites. Instead of only using one sensor in a ‘sweet spot’, MATT has sensor rails running the entire length of the legs as well as locations around the groin that can be accessed with direct pressure from a hand, knee, or tourniquet device.

MATT Specifications:

  • Full-motion animatronics combined with practical special effects technology
  • Arterial bleeding from both legs
  • Accurately simulates pulse bleeding and the effects of tourniquet application
  • Multiple tourniquet points along legs
  • Bleeding can be controlled with direct pressure from knee or elbow
  • Can be used with human actors
  • Specially formulated synthetic tissue with unparalleled realism and durability
  • Highly realistic visual and tactile stimuli
  • Ruggedized Remote Control with extended range
  • Crepitus to cue for crushed pelvic region
  • Realistic, resilient, and water resistant
  • Durable urethane core
  • Solid state electronics
  • Scrotal avulsion
  • Easy to clean and maintain after use
  • Optional interchangeable priapism to simulate spinal injury

Check out the Kernerworks website and the KForce.Gov MATT homepage for more great info!