Simulation Center Spotlight

Resident physicians from across Michigan take part in SimWars Competition at WMed Simulation Center

A five-day old child with a ductal-dependent heart lesion in need of urgent intervention by doctors. A patient who attempted suicide by ingesting a toxic substance. A child with a tumor that is causing refractory seizures.

Those were just a few of the simulated scenarios resident physicians from across the state of Michigan faced on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, as they took part in the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association of Michigan SimWars Competition in the WMed Simulation Center.

SimWars Competition 2023 at WMed Simulation Center
A team of emergency medicine residents from Trinity Health Muskegon – Angelic Dye, ²; Bernadette Dazzo, DO; Justin Staley, DO, and Ryan Brandt, DO – took home the first-place plaque at this year's SimWars Competition.

A total of 10 teams, including one team from WMed, participated in SimWars this year. The annual event features several simulated exercises to test residents’ skills and abilities in high-pressure, emergency situations.

“Even for teams that didn’t win, we found out today that the experience has been really good for them and they enjoyed it,” said John Hoyle, ², the medical school’s assistant dean for Simulation, who led and organized this year’s competition. “This competition gives them the experience of doing cases, a lot of which they’ve never seen before.”

This year marked the first time in the competition’s 12-year history that WMed has hosted SimWars. The medical school sent a team of residents to compete in SimWars for the first time in 2021, which was the last time the event was held prior to this year’s gathering. In 2021, the team from WMed won the competition.

SimWars Competition 2023 at WMed Simulation Center
The top two teams in the SimWars Competition participated in a final simulated case involving a pregnant woman who was the victim of domestic violence and suffered a placental abruption.

This year, a team of emergency medicine residents from Trinity Health Muskegon – Angelic Dye, ²; Bernadette Dazzo, DO; Justin Staley, DO, and Ryan Brandt, DO – took home the first-place plaque. A team of residents from Central Michigan University – Ana Camagay, ²; Rebecca Dimanche, ²; Andrew Namespetra, ², and Andrew Simon, DO – finished in second place.

The competition began with each team taking part in five 12-minute scenarios. Following that initial round, the top two teams moved on to a final simulated case involving a pregnant woman who was the victim of domestic violence and suffered a placental abruption. During the scenario, the residents were faced with trying to deliver the woman’s baby while also attempting to revive the woman after she went into cardiac arrest.

“I think we can all agree that this day simulates some of our worst fears as ER doctors and this is the best way to train for it because we are really acting out what it would look like to take care of these patients – patients that are really rare but that you don’t have a chance of taking care of unless you’ve at least tried to take a crack at it before,” said Josh Recknagel, ², who was part of the team of residents from WMed who took part in this year’s SimWars competition.

SimWars Competition 2023 at WMed Simulation Center
The team from WMed, which included Eric Hovda, DO; Nahal Massoudi, DO; Zachary Paquin, ², and Josh Recknagel, ², finished in the top five at this year’s SimWars competition.

“They do an excellent job of making this as true to life as they can,” Dr. Recknagel added.

The team from WMed, which also included Eric Hovda, DO, Nahal Massoudi, DO, and Zachary Paquin, ², finished in the top five at this year’s SimWars competition.

Even though the team from WMed did not repeat as winners this year, the doctors said they still drew a lot of value from the experience.

“Especially with this many residents involved, it was great to talk about cases afterwards, to go over them afterwards, and it allows us to share that decision-making,” Dr. Paquin said. “A lot of these cases don’t have one right answer. There are certain things you have to do but the way you do them is very important too.”

“This is definitely something you can learn a lot from without winning,” Dr. Recknagel added.