Pre-thinking   Are you a budding psychologist, a sports fan, a special effects movie buff, an artist or a computer guru? There is a place for all of you – in medicine. Seems weird? Watch Peter Weinstock’s Ted talk to see how all these divergent interests and skills end up in the same operating room. Perhaps in a way that changes the term “practice” as we have known it in medical usage.

Who is he:

Dr. Peter Weinstock is an Intensive Care Unit physician and Director of the Pediatric Simulator Program at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Peter and his team fuse medicine with state of the art special effects, puppeteering and 3D printing technologies to create lifelike simulations of complex surgeries. Weinstock frequently lectures internationally on advanced simulation and experiential learning, and he has published sentinel articles in innovative application and approaches to simulation — from human factors to engineering and testing of next generation of ultra-realistic training devices. He has chaired meetings worldwide and is Founding President of the International Pediatric Simulation Society (official Ted site).

Why you should listen:

Dr. Peter Weinstock has merged his lifelong interest in human nature, medicine, theater and puppetry to develop one of the most advanced rehearsal spaces in medicine. Weinstock is a practicing pediatric intensive care unit physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he serves as Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine, Associate Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Chair of Pediatric Simulation and Director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program (SIMPeds). Weinstock works with his team of educators, psychologists, engineers, animators, special effects designers and 3D printers to immerse doctors, nurses, patients and their families in Hollywood-style “life-like” experiences — all to optimize performance, clinical outcomes, as well as the entire healthcare journey for children and their families.

Weinstock received his PhD from Rockefeller University in molecular and cell biology, followed by clinical training in plastic and general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and general pediatrics and critical care medicine at the Boston Children’s Hospital. His passion is in developing methods that link highly realistic practice and preparedness training directly to the delivery of high quality, safe care to improve the lives of infants, children and their families. Due to its inherent emotionality, Weinstock’s approach to simulation is keenly connected to emotionality and behavioral psychology as essential elements of relationships and decision-making to understand and optimize human-human and human-technology interactions. Weinstock has rapidly grown SIMPeds to thousands of simulations per year, and the SIMPeds method has been adopted among pediatric teaching centers around the globe (Op Cit).

Discussion Questions

  1. The technology of lifelike rehearsal has at least seven benefits for patients. List some of them.

2. Many serious illnesses just don’t present that often. So how do you make the rare common?

3. The current model of training doctors is the apprenticeship model. It’s been around for centuries. It’s based on this idea that you see a surgery maybe once, maybe several times, you then go do that surgery, and then ultimately you teach that surgery to the next generation. And implicit in this model is that we practice on the very patients that we are delivering care to. It seems to work, so should we continue with it because it is cheaper?

4. Industries like nuclear power. the airline industry, the sports industry, the military all have practice runs for the unexpected when something goes wrong. How do we handle this problem in medicine?

5. There’s the brain, and you can see the cranium surrounding the brain. What surrounds the brain, between the brain and cranium, is something called cerebrospinal fluid or fluid, which acts as a shock absorber. In your head right now, there is cerebrospinal fluid just bathing your brain and making its way around. It’s produced in one area and flows through, and then is re-exchanged. And this beautiful flow pattern occurs for all of us. For those children for whom this doesn’t happen correctly, what has been the traditional operating room methodology?

6. Operate twice; cut once. What does he mean by this slogan? Explain this to someone.

Making Connections

  He talked about an operation on the brain of a baby with Hydrocephaly. If you wonder what happens when a baby like this attains adulthood, listen to this powerful interview conducted by Terri Gross on her daily broadcast on NPR (Fresh Air):

Recommended readings by Peter Weinstock

NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports Takes Lead As Health Care Role Model

February 16, 2015

Boston Medical Workers Prepare For Haiti’s Unfamiliar Trauma

March 8, 2010


Children’s ‘cardboard city’ aids in design of clinical tower

July 16, 2015

Learning New Spaces: Boston Children’s Hospital Helps Milford Regional Transition to Addition

Milford Regional Medical Center
November 3, 2015


Pediatric simulation training spreading to community hospitals

Boston Children’s Hospital
January 29, 2015


Horror Flick Special FX Team Takes Surgery From Red Peppers To OR Simulation

November 12, 2015

Boston Children’s Hospital uses 3-D printing to help baby born with brain outside his skull
June 22, 2016

3-D printer helps doctors prep for complex surgeries

Boston Globe
January 18, 2015


Off the 3-D Printer, Practice Parts for the Surgeon

New York Times
January 27, 2015

A Roadmap from Idea to Implementation: 3D Printing for Pre-Surgical Application: Operational Management for 3D Printing in Surgery (3DHEALS) Paperback – September 24, 2016

by Dr. Hui Jenny/J Chen (Author), Mrs. Michelle Gabriel (Author)

3D Printing of Medical Models from CT-MRI Images Paperback– August 18, 2016

by Li Yihua (Author), Eric Luis (Author)

Lifelike simulations that make real life surgeries safer with Peter Weinstock


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>