Dead matter tonight.


Dear Things,

I feel I must warn ahead of time that I will be showing photos of dead bodies tonight, as my object study is human cadavers.  Why are we able to perform tasks on dead bodies that we wouldn’t dream of performing on living bodies? Let’s find out!



2 Responses to “Dead matter tonight.”

  1. Sydney Says:

    An op-ed in the NY Times by Christine Montross argues against switching over from dissecting real cadavers to using virtual ones instead.

    The full article is here

    Here’s part of it:
    “But what kind of doctors will they be, these students who have never experienced human dissection? They would have been denied a safe and more gradual initiation into the emotional strain that doctoring demands.

    Someday, they’ll need to keep their cool when a baby is lodged wrong in a mother’s birth canal; when a bone breaks through a patient’s skin; when someone’s face is burned beyond recognition. Doctors do have normal reactions to these situations; the composure that we strive to keep under stressful circumstances is not innate. It has to be learned. The discomfort of taking a blade to a dead man’s skin helps doctors-in-training figure out how to cope, without the risk of intruding on a live patient’s feelings — or worse, his health. We learn to heal the living by first dismantling the dead.

    The dissection of cadavers also gives young doctors an appreciation for the wonders of the human body in a way that no virtual image can match. It is awe-inspiring to hold a human heart in one’s hands, to appreciate its fragility, intricacy and strength.

    But most important, the cadavers on their stainless steel tables are symbols of altruism to medical students: They are reminders of how great a gift one can give to a stranger in the hopes of healing. Isn’t that the most fundamental lesson we want our doctors to carry to the bedsides of their patients?”

  2. narfe Says:

    Ohhhh good article! Thanks!

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