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Friday, March 03, 2006

Goodbye and Thank You

I finished my last anatomy dissection yesterday. Exceedingly anti-climactic when I think back to how built up my first visit to the anatomy lab was.

It is kind've unsettling. We became almost too familiar with the gentleman who had donated himself to our learning. As we dissected the body became less and less human, and the fact that we were learning through the study of an actual once living person became more and more common.

I suppose this is the situation for almost every anatomy and medical school student who use dissections. It would be impractical for every lab, every day to be too much of a marvel. Still, when we lowered our body for the last time without any bit of recognition or anything more than a laughing "goodbye," it showed just how far we had come and maybe not in a good way.

Don't get me wrong, as I've previously posted on, our school made sure we understood the magnitude of the gift we were receiving. Our candlelight vigil for those who had donated themselves, about halfway through the anatomy course, was touching and sincere.


Blogger Moof said...

Wow! Thank you for that post. It gave me some insight - on two sides of the coin.

That's what I've chosen to do - is whole body donation ... and you know, I'd never really thought about it from the perspective of the medical student.

I guess that, as the days and weeks wear on, that you must become more absorbed in what you're learning, than in the tool you're using to learn it from.

You know - from what I've been able to gather, you will need to develop a "detachment from" which will go hand in hand with your "empathy for" your patients. Perhaps this was a small taste of that.

If you can wonder about how far you've come, and care about where you are, then you're still on track.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Casey S said...

I can understand how you feel. I work in the medical field as well, and we tend to become numb to what is happening with our patients. This is partly because we are engulfed in trying to diagnose and treat a disease, and partly because we see the sick and injured on a daily basis.

I believe that this "detachment" is the way we have to operate though. Becoming to personally involved with patients hinders our ability to help them.

It is a fine line though, I always empathize with a patient and his/her situation, because understanding what they are going through keeps me grounded enough to live a normal life outside of the ED.

1:14 PM  

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