Cadavers Confound At PSU School of Medicine

operating roomNervous first-year students at the Hershey School of Medicine recently met face to face with the dead bodies that they’ll be examining in detail over the next semester, as outlined by Pennlive.

Students stand, four to an exam table, in assigned teams. Upon each table is a body. All the cadavers are inside white body bags.

But the first-year students are fidgety. They know that, soon, those bodies will be revealed.

The teaching assistant or second-year student helping each team removes a clear plastic tarp atop the body or instructs a first-year to remove it. Each body weighs 130 to 260 pounds. Each has had its blood removed and embalming fluid injected.

Over the next 11 weeks, the students will be tasked with remembering 10,000 body parts, quite an accomplishment. The cadavers in front of them will be central in helping them achieve this goal.

There’s nothing dangerous; the students can’t contract any disease from the cadavers, explains Jessica Wentling, 26, a teaching assistant from Baltimore and an anatomy graduate student. Some students don’t like the lab, Wentling says. “Some people prefer the book, but the nerve on this body is different from the nerve on that body. It’s not about passing anatomy. It’s about understanding the human body.”

Wentling and others in the Patriot-News article stressed the great gift to science the deceased made. Without them, how would new medical school students become comfortable with the human body? The book can’t teach everything. Some things have to be experienced in order to be learned.

If you wish to contribute your body to the Hershey Medical Center upon your death, call 215-922-4440. Donors can specify their body go to the Penn State College of Medicine in Derry Township.

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Eli Glazier

Eli is a junior majoring in International Politics. He enjoys paninis and books.

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