With their shaggy manes and stocky bodies, they look like children's pets. They are the kind of animals that make people coo and exclaim, "How cute!" But the semi-feral ponies that roam the spacious pasture at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center (NBC) are the subjects of serious scientific research.
"A lot of the equipment you see on the television show 'ER' we have here," says Dr. Jon Palmer, an associate professor of medicine and the director of the center's neonatal program. "We have respirators, heart monitoring equipment, blood pressure monitoring equipment, and equipment that monitors exhaled gasses. We even have a defibrillator. I only wish I could get blood gasses as fast as they do on 'ER.' "