Ladies and Gentlemen, every now and then I wonder what is involved in surgical training and to what extent cadavers are used for this purpose.  You can see where this is going, right?  Where do these bodies come from and are there sufficient available to ensure that doctors/surgeons are well skilled before they get to try out surgical procedures on a real live person?  Or perhaps technological advancements mean that cadavers are no longer used for training?

I really should research this, but it occurs to me that bloggers know everything and could perhaps clear up this mystery for me?  The all-knowing Google doesn’t need to know where my curiosity takes me.  Privacy.

Anyhoo, I suppose it is not just idle curiosity.  I’ve already let my family know that in the event my life is cut short by some misfortune, I wish them to donate my organs to the organ transplant program in my country.  However, unless I am declared brain dead while on life support, organ donation would not be a practical option.  Anticipating this, I could arrange that my family donate my body to science or to a medical school for students to learn their trade.

I feel a little squeamish about all my wobbly bits being on display, but at that point in time, I would probably be beyond caring  My main concern is for my family.  I am sure they would want the formalities of my passing dealt with as quickly as possible.  If donating my body for medical student training held up those formalities unduly, then maybe I should just drop the idea?  I’m undecided and therefore have been procrastinating in doing this important research.

Aren’t you glad I asked?


Response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt — Skill.  Looking for blogging inspiration?  Click on the link.



31 thoughts on “A Little Nip And Tuck

  1. We are truly the recycling generation! I think you have a great plan. Cremation for me and then maybe I can help the earth somehow when I’m scattered 🙂
    PS I like the reference too “wobbly bits” 🤣 I am quite conscious of mine!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cremation for me also. I signed my living will and told my younger son he is the surrogate if my husband and I go together. Nothing like making him squeamish when all he did was come over to say, ‘Hi.” Thanks for asking, Tracy. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do know something about this, Tracy. Cadavers are used primarily for learning anatomy in the first years of medical school. Most medical schools have a way to donate your body if you are so inclined. Its a valuable gift, and respect for the cadavers is instilled in the students.

    As far as surgical training, not much of it is done on cadavers, mostly on people in well-supervised settings. One practices suturing and knot tying away from people, observes others, and then moves on to doing the technique. Sometimes animal bodies are uses to learn a technique (think supplies from the butcher). There was a saying during my training: see one, do one, teach one, about learning techniques.

    I did graduate from med school 35 years ago, and so I’m not up on the most current, but from what I understand, cadavers and animal models are used less not more, as computer simulations have gotten really good for many studies. And one still needs to learn human anatomy from a human. Its a fine thing to donate if you are so inclined.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I donated mine, filled out the paperwork, got the certificate thing to put in my final papers for those who clean up after me. My dad donated himself because he had MS and not a lot was known about MS when he died in 1972. One caveat when I donated my body was that they don’t want bodies that have too many replacement parts. I don’t know if I’ve disqualified myself by insisting on being ambulatory, but it’s kind of important to me. Who knows? Maybe I’ll live a while and they’ll be recycling metal body parts.

    I wish, though, they could just throw me out in the wilderness for scavengers. Apparently the writer Edward Abbey had friends who were willing to do that for him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You never know, Martha, about the recycling that is. 🙂 Anyway, it is awfully good of you to do that. I have been very reassured by people’s comments today so I am going to look into it.

      PS. I did a post on another occasion about wanting a sky burial. It must have been when you were on one of your blogging breaks. I had many supportive comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just think maybe when they autopsied my dad and looked at his spine, they learned a little something that helped someone down the road. I don’t (I hope not, anyway) think I’ll have anything interesting to study, but I can definitely be a pretend body to do surgery on. And I have absolutely NO family. Bear and Dusty would eat me. 😉 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think my body and brain could be of interest due to my Type 1 diabetes. My eyes, which have been lasered to within an each of their life to stop me from going blind, might be interesting to study. My corneas are definitely no good for transplant. They’re barely good enough for me. 🙂

        I don’t think Bear and Dusty would eat a friend. Maybe El Creepo …. probably would give them indigestion though.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Some interesting thoughts here Tracy! In the olden days there was a surplus of people leaving their bodies for medical research as it was also seen as a way of avoiding funeral or cremation costs. I don’t know what the situation is in Australia these days, and it is worth finding out more if this is what you would like to do. In terms of organ donation, a lot depends on the cause of death, any medication given and age of the donor in terms of the suitability of the organs for transplant. Burn units will still accept skin grafts for burns victims even when the organs may not be suitable for transplant. It is worth registering with the Australian Organ Donor Register if you haven’t already done so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am very encouraged by those comments, Xenia. I think I am registered with AODR but I will check again to make sure. When I was in hospital as a child for something diabetes related, there was a young burns victim in the same ward. The agony he must have gone through! I can still remember it after all these years. It would please me greatly, if I could help someone in that situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I got as far as enquiring at the local med school about body donation. Someone rang me, but I was overseas at the time and I didn’t follow it up. You have reminded me to pick this up again, as I would prefer my body to have some use when I’m done with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ABC radio did an article on this a couple of years ago. In WA, the bodies that have been donated to science are used in the necropsy labs in the School of Human Biology at UWA. As another mentioned here, they are treated with respect and that respect is expected of every student who is with the body. The School (I think) has a memorial service once a year for all the families of those people whose bodies have been donated and after everything is finished with the body, the funeral is paid for by the university.
    To become a surgeon takes many years of study and experience, but for medical students, they learn through suturing pig cadavers, lifelike models of body parts and through computer simulations. On real people, the students learn under supervision, starting obviously with minor procedures.As a midwife, I learned to deliver babies through using models long before I was ever allowed to experience birth with a real labouring woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Funny you should mention this as last night I was watching Michael Portillo’s program on SBS and he was exploring an abandoned London hospital and talking quite a lot about grave robbers and how there was quite a trade in bodies in earlier times.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A good friend of our family donated her body to science when she died, in the hopes that it would help find a cure for some common diseases. I think that’s a hard choice to make though, and I’m not sure if I could do that or not. As for being an organ donor, I have signed up for that. I have a nephew who is only alive because of a liver transplant, so to me, that makes it worth the effort. But it is truly a personal decision and each of us has to make the choice that is right for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a personal choice, Ann. Your nephew is one of the lucky ones to have received a compatible liver. What a loss to his family and the broader community it would have been without the gift of that donation. In Australia, organ donation rates are surprisingly low . The scarcity of livers available for donation is exacerbated by our drinking culture. I don’t drink because it is already hard enough to manage my diabetes. So I am hopeful that it will be in tip top condition for someone else.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. There is a place where forensic scientists use bodies buried in bush graves of various depths to use a a guide to knowing how long murder victims have been buried. The maggot thing gets to me though

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My memory is not good but I asked about this once. I wanted to know if I donated to science what happened after they were done. I think they said they cremated you (I guess whatever is leftover) and sent the ashes back to your family but it was six months or so down the road. Actually two years is sticking in my brain but that doesn’t seem right. I know Japanese tradition is they have the funeral but then later like at six months and then a year they have a memorial ceremony. They have specified intervals for the memorial ceremonies. You could do that but in reverse. When you first passed, the family could have a memorial ceremony where people gather to remember you. Then after the ashes are brought back, could have another ceremony at the time of the interment. Ceremony doesn’t have to be religious. It can be a gathering of family and friends to feast and tell tales of the person who has passed to honor their time together, a way to share memories, and a celebration of experiences shared.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s