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Author Topic: Would MY body be useful for teaching?  (Read 4242 times)

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Would MY body be useful for teaching?
« on: 11/01/2011 22:49:41 »
When I was 3 years old my right leg was amputated below the knee due to a birth defect. Because part of my body is gone, would it still be useful to an anatomy department?

Would it be MORE useful as a demonstration for when things go wrong?


 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Would MY body be useful for teaching?
« Reply #1 on: 11/01/2011 23:00:20 »
A friend of mine who is a medical doctor got a rather bad shock when she was doing her anatomy class. She had been dissecting a female cadaver for several weeks which, out of respect, had been covered except for the parts they were working on. Finally it came time to dissect the woman's head. When my friend uncovered the woman's face she discovered that she had been my friend's favorite high school teacher. In fact the very person who had inspired her to become a doctor.

After a bit of crying (she hadn't known her teacher had died) she realized how appropriate it was. Her teacher was still teaching, even after she had died.
 

Offline chris

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« Reply #2 on: 12/01/2011 00:57:41 »
That's an amazing story, Eric.

C
 

Offline peppercorn

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Would MY body be useful for teaching?
« Reply #3 on: 12/01/2011 11:16:23 »
Even the story about the inspiring teacher is itself inspiring!!!
--Thanks for sharing Eric.  I hope many people read it!

I think your body will be at least as useful as the average cadaver and, as you say, quite likely more-so due to the amputation. - I don't know if any of our other contributors have interesting anatomical anomalies (has a right-sided heart ever been seen?) that they would be able (or wish to!?) share with a teaching hospital....
 

Offline CliffordK

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Would MY body be useful for teaching?
« Reply #4 on: 12/01/2011 12:17:22 »
I can only comment on US eduction.  It is possible that other countries would be different.

Many of the Medical School Cadavers are in their 60's to 90's, and obviously both male and female.  It would not be uncommon for a cadaver to have had previous surgery such as a hysterectomy, and some organs such as ovaries may be relatively shrunken.

The primary goal of the medical school cadavers is as a teaching aid for learning anatomy.  Bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, veins, arteries, and major organs. 

Usually teams of about 4 students share a single cadaver for dissection.  If there is an associated dental school, they will also explore the head and neck dissections.

Legs would certainly be important.  However, if you have one good leg, it should not preclude the use of the cadaver.

One can share with other teams when looking at things like male/female organs.

Unfortunately Pathology is not necessarily covered in conjunction with Gross Anatomy with the goal more to look at "normal" systems and variants.

Anyway....
If you are interested in doing it.
You need to talk with your family.
Also talk to the local medical school as well as discussing it with your physician.

The school should provide cremation, and return as much as possible/practical of the remains to your family.  However, it will obviously be delayed for several months.
 

Offline imatfaal

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« Reply #5 on: 12/01/2011 19:06:06 »
Eric - a story of truly great teacher.  I am sure that everyone who has performed human dissection would agree that regularly one would get a surge of emotion that this cadaver was once a person who lived, laughed, and loved.  To have known the person in life would massively increase this bond.

It's a long time ago but I think I am right in saying we did 6-8 hours dissection a week for over a year - some people claimed the familiarization lead to a dehumanization of the cadaver; I am not so sure, by the end of the fourth term we were totally at ease within the dissection room but this is not the same thing at all.  Perhaps sometimes we did become a little blase, but I don't think anyone in the course did not feel the immense privilege of being granted such an incredible way to learn.
 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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« Reply #6 on: 13/01/2011 00:21:09 »
Even the story about the inspiring teacher is itself inspiring!!!
--Thanks for sharing Eric.  I hope many people read it!

I think your body will be at least as useful as the average cadaver and, as you say, quite likely more-so due to the amputation. - I don't know if any of our other contributors have interesting anatomical anomalies (has a right-sided heart ever been seen?) that they would be able (or wish to!?) share with a teaching hospital....

I'm sure most people have some sort of medical anatomical anomaly, even if they don't know it. I read about a pregnant woman who was having twins. She went in and it was discovered that one fetus was about 4 weeks behind the other in development. Turned out she WASN'T having twins. She had two uteruses and had become pregnant twice one month apart. She delivered both babies at the same time but the later baby was also healthy.
 

Offline CliffordK

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« Reply #7 on: 13/01/2011 00:59:54 »
I don't believe your medical chart will be sent with the body/cadaver. 

So, it would be difficult for a first year student to discern an amputation following a congenital defect from military trauma.
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #8 on: 13/01/2011 02:44:54 »
Quote from: Eric A. Taylor
Would MY body be useful for teaching?

It's actually worth quite a bit ...  http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=21723.msg242819#msg242819 


has a right-sided heart ever been seen?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dextrocardia

« Last Edit: 13/01/2011 02:54:01 by RD »
 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Would MY body be useful for teaching?
« Reply #9 on: 16/01/2011 06:23:16 »
I don't believe your medical chart will be sent with the body/cadaver. 

So, it would be difficult for a first year student to discern an amputation following a congenital defect from military trauma.

From what I understand a traumatic amputation often differences from a medical amputation in how the bones and other tissue is left. However, if a long lime passes between amputation and death (maybe 10 years or more) there are changes to the skeleton that are apparent. Especially if the amputation took place in childhood. My left femur is 20% larger than my right and when I was skiing regularly my left upper leg was quite a lot bigger.

Also I imagine that other asymmetric anomalies are apparent in my bones from the pelvis down.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #10 on: 16/01/2011 12:21:13 »
To a good enough approximation, if they wanted to know what your right foot looked like that could look at the left one in a mirror.

Seriously, I understand that the medical schools are generally rather short of dead bodies to look at and they wouldn't be in a position to be fussy about an "odd" one. We are all "odd" and it's a good thing if medical students are made aware of this.
 

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