Morristown Medical Center accused of using live dogs for training

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A nonprofit group accused Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey of practicing medical procedures on live dogs, but the hospital says it has changed its practices.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, based in Washington, put up billboards at two NJ Transit stations, as well as on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The poster features a sad looking dog with the title, "Morristown, Don't Kill Man's Best Friend for Medical Training."

The website urged people to write protest letters to hospital administrators.

The hospital said  Friday that it never used dogs on-site, and that their previous program used only four animals annually off-site. The new program, the hospital said, will only use cadavers and simulators.

Here is Morristown's full statement:

Morristown Medical Center has a longstanding practice of providing the best possible training for emergency medicine residents. Historically, that education included a specialized emergency medicine training session for uncommon, human life-saving procedures and involved the use of four total live animals annually. The program consisted of two annual training sessions that took place at an off-site, unaffiliated accredited research facility.

We are not housing any animals, nor have live animals been used for medical training over the past several months as we closely evaluated this program.

Our medical education leaders have reviewed alternate practices, and we have determined that moving forward we will use both simulators and cadavers for this specialized training.

Training our physicians and staff to provide the highest quality care for our patients is our priority and responsibility. We will continue to ensure that our emergency residents are able to safely and proficiently perform life-saving procedures.

According to the Physicians Committee, there are about 200 residency training programs in emergency medicine in the U.S.

The group so far has surveyed 170. Out of those surveyed, nearly 90 percent told the group that they do specialized training without practicing on live animals.