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News Room: Press Releases

Prom-goers learn the dangers of drunk driving

All too often you read about tragic accidents involving prom-goers and a deadly mix of drinking and driving. Virtua is helping to get the message to high school students about the dangers of drunk driving. To actually feel how impaired driving affects decision-making and reaction time, Virtua paramedics are taking students through the paces with SIDNE (Simulated Impaired Driving Experience). SIDNE is a motorized "go-cart" type vehicle that holds up to two adults. It drives up to eight miles per hour and has two driving modes. In the simulation, a series of cones are set up through which the participant is expected to drive the vehicle through the lane. The participant does this is the "normal" mode and can typically succeed. But at the flip of a switch - controlled by the facilitator - SIDNE goes into impaired mode. When this happens, responsiveness of the steering and braking functions slow to simulate an intoxicated blood alcohol level and the participant finds it significantly more difficult to successfully (if at all) navigate the cones. "SIDNE simulates what happens when your mind can't control your actions," said Dan Newman, Virtua SouthStar flight paramedic who recently demonstrated SIDNE for a group of students. "They can usually navigate the course in the regular driving mode, but everything is different when the car is in the impaired mode." It is quite an eye opener for students, and hopefully a life-saver as prom season fast approaches. Virtua Health is a leading provider of pre-hospital emergency medical services. As New Jersey's designated provider of emergency paramedic response in Burlington and Camden Counties, Virtua maintains 11 paramedic units ready to respond to emergencies of all types. Responding to more than 50,000 calls per year, Virtua's Mobile Intensive Care Paramedics are experts in providing immediate, state-of-the-art life saving interventions. Virtua employees serve as the medical crew on-board Virtua SouthStar, the designated emergency response helicopter for Southern New Jersey. Serving the area south of I-195, and from the Delaware River to the Jersey Shore, the Virtua SouthStar team works with local 911 providers to get the patient to the right hospital as safely and as quickly as possible. Persons interested in becoming trained as emergency medical response professionals can attend Virtua's training programs through the Virtua School of Paramedic Science at Camden County College. For more information about Virtua's Emergency Medical Services, please contact Scott Kasper, Corporate Director of Emergency Services at (856) 581-7520.
As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, four acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. It is the official orthopedic provider for the Philadelphia Flyers. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley every year since 2007. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit  www.virtua.org or www.virtuabroadcastnetwork.org.