Friday, January 15, 2010

First Cadaver Day

Friday, January 15, 2010
As medical students, we are given many privileges over normal students. While I remember learning anatomy from a textbook in undergrad (often times with drawn rather than real pictures), we are given the unique opportunity to learn anatomy from actual bodies.

We started off by discussing dissections in general and talking about conduct around the laboratory. We were told the sacrifice and altruism the donors had when they donated their bodies. They were in full knowledge of what would happen to them and agreed to donate themselves after death to train a new generation of doctors.

We headed downstairs towards the basement, where our labs were situated and were given a chance to group up and find our cadavers we would be working with. Each station was equipped with a hand washing station and a monitor with which we could observe our instructors and the dissections they were doing.

Anticipating seeing a dead body for the first time, I was feeling a bit queasy and uneasy; however, what I found was that the cadaver was fairly far removed from what a human looks like when alive. The skin is hardened and frozen in place from the formaldehyde and the skin is just a shade of grey. The face is covered up and the only exposed areas were the torso.

Overall, I think today was a very humbling experience, to see the body of a deceased person, and also a very unique experience, one that only a few members of society will ever experience.

To end this post, I would like to post a thank-you to all those who donated their bodies and to the families of these people. Not only to my cadaver, but also to all the people out there, the medical schools cross-Canada and also internationally, that have made the altruistic sacrifice to help us learn.


Ninquelen said...

They have all been amazing people, and not only because of their donation. I hope all students and doctors remember that even though it is cold tissue that is in front of you, they have all been someone. I can imagine it was a very humbling experience. Knowing that what they did will secure the lives of so many others because our future doctors get the education they need. Good luck with the studies!

Ninquelen said...

Also feel free to add me on msn if you want to hear more about the european med schools =) It would be one enormous comment explaining that in my blog ^^
Just write a message so I know who is adding me if you do so :D I'd also love to hear more about how things work over there!

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled across your blog after seeing the link on PM101. You mentioned that you were refused the first time did you find the courage to continue?? Ahh...I'm having a really hard time getting over this rejection. I am just about to graduate and I'm worried that I am going to compromise my marks now because I'm so bummed. Any advice??

Delusion of Reality said...

i think that you really have to realize that at the end of the day, the rejection was tough, but think of it as a learning experience. It taught you what you did wrong (try contacting some of the admissions offices, they often have advice for people as to how to improve their applications) and it also taught you more about yourself. The experience will help you get in next year and it'll make you a better person and a better doctor in general. Take it from someone on the other side, tons and TONS of people get rejected the first time (lots and lots of my classmates were rejected once or even twice before they made it).

And also, just focus on your goal. Know that at the end of the day when you make it in, it won't even matter anymore. But I agree it'll be a tough time (and it was for me, having to go through the whole damn thing over again after getting rejected once). Just try and pace yourself, study hard, but make sure you keep sometime for friends. I personally tried to avoid any medtalk whatsoever (unless neccessary, like advice for interviews and applications and whatnot), so I wouldn't remind myself of anything unhappy. Tell yourself that your going to do your utmost to make it in this year, and that you will. Take some time to dream as well, imagine May 15 and what you would feel like, and what you would do when you get the awesome e-mail in your inbox with the title congrats (it's sounds lame, but I totally did that and it kinda gave me motivation to keep trying). I honestly played the scene over and over again and imagined what i would do in the first 5 mins etc (although I didn't do any of the things I imagined I would lol).

Anyways to leave you with a quote from batman (kinda lame, but suitable in this situation methinks!) : "Why do we fall sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up." Let me tell you, learning to pick myself up after failure has perhaps been one of the most important lessons I learned in pre-med, and something that will help make me a better doctor than an admission one year earlier woulda have. Dealing with failure is something that, as doctors, we are all going to have to deal with sooner or later, and they are going to get worse and worse as time goes on (ie. as clerks and residents we're going to fuck up tons and tons of times and we need to learn to deal with it and learn from our failures). It's important that we learn early on how to deal with these things, and take the failure as a chance to learn how to deal with it and a learning experience (I know it's easy for me to say from the other side, but it's something I realized in retrospect). anyways, hope the wall o text helped out!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for providing your feedback :) it is really amazing to hear your story and how the situation will ultimately really help you to be a better doctor in the future. I am definitely going to take your advice, and try to learn as much as I can from the situation. It definitely hurts to be let down after all this work, but I certainly have a few areas to improve on and hopefully I can make a stronger applicant for the next round :)

I am assuming you got your rejection at the end of 4th year? What did you do in the year in-between 4th and first year medical school? Unless you were in 3rd year when you got your rejection and got accepted after fourth!

Thanks again for your help and feedback!!

Delusion of Reality said...

hey, i'm glad i helped you out! i'd also be glad to post more information for you, but I try and remain anonymous on the web, so I could give you the info via e-mail (if want to remain anony too, it'd be totally cool if you started a new e-mail acct and asked me there). my e-mail for hte blog is

Anonymous said...

That sounds great, thank you so much :) I just created a new account on Gmail and I'll be sending you a message shortly! Thanks again!!

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