The University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital want to adopt a baby but this one comes with a hefty price tag.

The high-tech baby is a teaching tool that would join the hospital's growing family of "simulation mannequins."

Inside an operating room at the uOttawa Skills and Simulation Centre at the Ottawa Hospital, a “patient” lies on the table awaiting his procedure.  He coughs, blinks, breathes, even has a sense of humor

“Hey nurse, isn't it time for my sponge bath?” he shouts out.  When he is not joking, “Alvin”, as he’s known, is teaching people like Warren Cheung, who is studying emergency medicine.

“It's extremely close to real life,” says Cheung, the Emergency Department Chief Resident at the Ottawa Hospital. “This mannequin can do everything from breathing on its own to talking. It can sweat, pupils can dilate, it responds to medications in the same way a human would.”

uOttawa's Skills and Simulation Centre has three simulation mannequins at the Ottawa Hospital. They cost between $60,000 and $75-thousand dollars each.  The training centre is the biggest of its kind in Canada, helping the medical staff of tomorrow learn cutting edge medicine today including laparoscopy, surgery, even delivering a baby. But it's not just medical students visiting and learning from this simulation centre.

"We see our practicing doctors come through to refresh skills,” says Dr. Viren Naik, uOttawa Skills and Simulation Centre Director, “to learn new skills as technology advances. We see our nurses come through to learn how to manage their own care but also how to interact in a team.”

The missing link to the centre's happy family is a baby.  Dr. Naik holds up a simulation baby, so anatomically correct it even vomits on him.  The hospital has "borrowed" the baby but is hoping with the help students at Turnbull school in Ottawa to raise the $26-thousand dollars needed to buy its own.  The Ottawa Hospital is a major birthing centre.

Dr. Naik says "the reason we need a baby is to teach our health practitioners how to deal with newborns when they're delivered. Most times everything goes well but sometimes a baby comes out that needs a little help from doctors and nurses.”

The students at Turnbull are keen, planning all sorts of fundraisers.

Last year we raised a lot of money,” says Grade 6 student Emily Shinder, “and I think we could do it again this year.”