Thursday, September 17, 2009

One Last Lesson: First Impressions of Cadaver Dissection

There are as many career paths in medicine as there are careers in the US, but all medical professionals from dermatologists to neurosurgeons have one thing in common, cadaver dissection. Cadaver dissection is viewed as a rite of passage for medical students, an experience that we all have or will share. While there have been many attempts by computer programs to simulate the experience, the dissection process, the smell that just won't seem to wash, and the looks of disgust on crowded elevators cannot be duplicated in its fullest by any other means. There is not substitute.

For many we go through life teaching others whether it be one's children, students, co-workers, we have all taught in life and I am no exception. One of the things that attracted me to medicine was the ability to continuing learning and teaching. Even the hippocratic oath states:
"... To give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken the oath according to medical law, but to no one else..."
We have all taught in life and now some have chosen to teach in death, and their final instruction is to the next generation of medical students, to carry on a tradition that is thousands of years old. It is not only our privilege but also our responsibility to learn as much as we can from these special instructors. Each day I go into dissection, I have the words of my professors ringing in my ears: "The Cadaver is always right."

And so, I want to extend my deepest thanks to all those who have allowed a family member to be one of our teachers.

1 comment:

Lou Ann said...

Thank you for the honor you have bestowed to this life, that in some ways is living through you and your lab partner.