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Anatomy and cadavers

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by alex28, May 12, 2000.

  1. alex28

    alex28 Junior Member

    May 11, 2000
    Long Island, NY
    Does anyone know if it is possible to attend medical school and participate in anatomy without physically contacting cadavers? Due to my religion, I am not permitted to touch bodies that are dead. I can only touch bodies of patients whose lives I am trying to save (That's assuming I can go to medical school.). I truly want to become a doctor and help people, but I can't participate in the traditional anatomy class. I've heard that some progressive schools have anatomy more based in a virtual experience with computer aided learning. I could also atttend anatomy as long as I didn't have to touch -- only observe.
    Does anyone have suggestions of schools I could attend?

    Hopeful doctor,
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  3. Djanaba

    Djanaba Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 4, 2000
    Minneapolis, MN
    I dunno, Alex... anatomy was one of the best experiences I had, especially doing the dissections -- having the hands-on experiences of learning the body was vital to me. If the first time you stick your hand in an abdomen is during surgery, you might be in for lots of surprises... I am surprised that your religion does not make exceptions for the ultimate goal of healing, but I understand that it makes things difficult. I believe that at my school, you could have done it -- but likely most would agree that something essential would have been missed.
  4. docbonebrake

    docbonebrake Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 12, 2000
    Alex -
    My school, the University of Missouri - Kansas City, is a non-dissecting school. The original founder of the school did not believe in the dissection of human specimens, and the tradition has carried. Everything is done by virtual computer programs. However, UMKC is generally an accelerated 6 year program and accepts most of its students straight out of high school. There are a few advanced standing positions, though, so this may be something that you want to check out. Also, they prefer Missouri residents, so I'm not sure if advanced standing applicants must be from the state or not. Something to look into :)
    The school's site is - best of luck to you!

    [This message has been edited by docbonebrake (edited 05-14-2000).]
  5. Dr. FS

    Dr. FS Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York City
    What if one of your patients dies in your hands, and you are supposed to resuscitate that patient. wouldn't you try to resuscitate that patient? would you just give up, because of your religion.

    i think that the rule of you religion (of not touching dead body), does not match with the rules of being a doctor.

    You should decide now: Med-school(being a Dr.),or your religion? which one is more important for you?

    PS.- I know this might be a hard decision for you, but you have to face it.

    Good luck, and make the right one.

    Dr. FS
  6. mermaid

    mermaid Member 10+ Year Member

    May 6, 2000
    I thought I saw this posted somewhere else...
  7. Liquid_Tension

    Liquid_Tension Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2000
    New York
    Alex....I am wondering if it is possible for you to get out of your religon

    [This message has been edited by Diane Ev (edited 05-18-2000).]
  8. KU Medical school uses plastic models to teach anatomy. You might try contacting individual schools to see possibilities
    about a video approach to Anatomy lab.
    Keep in mind that you will have interactions of recently deceased in your medical internships/ rotations. You may want to devulge further into the limits of your religion in these circumstances.
    Best of luck
    Diane Evans
    Class 2003

  9. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    UC Berkeley
    "Due to my religion, I am not permitted to touch bodies that are dead. I can only touch bodies of patients whose lives I am trying to save"

    But isn't someone you're trying to resuscitate already dead? I'm curious as to what the definitions of death are in your religion, either brain dead or dead due to oxygen depravation.

    "where there's a will, there's a way."
  10. avi newman

    avi newman Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 1999
    new york, new york
    I do not know what religion you are, but in my religous tradition - Judaism - a cohen simply can not be a doctor. Medicine, unfortunately involves touching the dead, and being in the same room with them. A cohen can not defile himself in the presence of cadavers. My understanding is that even rabbis who are cohens can not officiate at funerals or enter cemetaries.
    For better or for worse (I think for better) the study of human cadavers for anatomy has been with medical study since, I believe, the University of Padua developed the pedagogical dissection of cadavers in the 1500's. The use of cadavers does not stop there. Cadavers are used in the study of surgical proceders and forensics. In a life-saving operation or procedure which does not work, may that not come to pass, the physician may in certain cases actually be touching a cadaver until the physician deems the continuance of the procedure to be futile. And so on and so forth.
    I may be a medical student, but I have never been my own physician. I go to others regarding my own health care. I would never go to a doctor who had not dissected a cadaver: because the dissecting of a cadaver was in my personal case critical to what understanding of medicine that I have, and hope to acquire in the future.
    But I am just one person. I do not know what religion you are. Maybe you could consult the authorities in your religion to see what they say. Someone on the forum suggested you investigate changing religions. Certainly you are free to do that. My religion imposes many constraints on my seemingly innate tendencies, expecially my proclivities to make mischief, or worse. In my case, I am prepared to give my life in the defense of my own religious beliefs. Unfortunately in one ugly anti-semitic encounter I had to be prepared to do just that. However, I survived the incident, obviously.
    In America every person has, thanks be, freedom to choose.
  11. PimplePopperMD

    PimplePopperMD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2000
    The answer is: of COURSE you can attend anatomy lab and not participate. Plenty of people NEVER dissected, and it wasn't their religion that stopped them -- it was LAZINESS!! I certainly skipped out on my fair share of dissecting (some people learn better when they see the final result, not when they're just hacking away). Just make sure that if you do go to med school, to visit the lab with a partner that won't mind being your hands (ie hold that muscle back so i can see the nerve, etc)... trust me, you'll be FINE!

    As long as it isn't illegal to have netter in your hands too!
  12. MikeS 78

    MikeS 78 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 29, 2000
    east coast
    Rohen's is pretty 1st rate has cadaver photo graphs......While its a possibility that you will be able to go through anatomy without any disection.....if you are placed into a group of 2 im sure you will make one guy rather displeased......hopefully I don't end up with anyone from your faith
  13. Sheiila

    Sheiila Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2000
    Boston, MA USA
    Is it wrong for a married man to do a pelvic on a woman who is not his own wife? No, of course not... it is an act of compassion, really. Maybe that same principle can be applied to dealing with dead bodies? These dead people gave this gift to you, to serve humanity and God even in death. They save lives in this way. It seems to me that it would be wrong, it would dishonor them and their sacrifice, to abstain from the dissection.

    No doubt your faith is very important to you. Surely others of your faith have become physicians. Speak with your clergy. Good luck!

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