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Memorial Service

Last week, I attended a Memorial Service at my school. The service was held for all those who had donated their bodies for use in the anatomy labs. There were three schools in attendance (Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Allied Health).

A couple of musical numbers were performed by students and a handful of students volunteered to speak and express their appreciation. At the end of the ceremony I looked around and saw some wet eyes. It made me realize that donating one’s body is a sacrifice for the loved ones as well. These friends and relatives never got to bury a coffin. And they won’t. In a few weeks we will have our Gross Anatomy final exams and the school will proceed to cremate the bodies.

I’ve heard that some medical schools have ended anatomy dissections. If I remember correctly, UCSF School of Medicine no longer has students dissect in Anatomy lab. They have models that the students can come and look at.

Personally, I have long thought models are the way to go. I think a whole lot of Anatomy lab is wasted trying to pick away fat and and fascia. But once you get through all the fat and fascia, there are benefits to actually finding the Vagus nerve coursing through the thorax, or the recurrent laryngeal nerve coming through the tracheoesophageal groove. It’s not something easily forgotten after dissecting to find those structures.

So to those who have donated your bodies for science, to those who believed in education enough to sign over yourself, to the families who have waited over a year before getting closure in the form of ashes: Thank You.

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  • It’s amazing how that memorial service for the cadavers can be a bit emotional. I still remember that day even though it’s been almost 2 years.

    Our school had a combination of dissection and prosection (for head and neck anatomy). I must say that I remember the anatomy that I personally had to dissect more than the prosected anatomy. Of course it saves time in the lab, and may even look a little prettier, but I don’t think it has the same effect.

  • It’s amazing how that memorial service for the cadavers can be a bit emotional. I still remember that day even though it’s been almost 2 years.

    Our school had a combination of dissection and prosection (for head and neck anatomy). I must say that I remember the anatomy that I personally had to dissect more than the prosected anatomy. Of course it saves time in the lab, and may even look a little prettier, but I don’t think it has the same effect.