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Passed out in a cadaver lab...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by plumhill, May 20, 2014.

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  1. plumhill

    plumhill 2+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2011
    "The Library"
    I'm taking an anatomy class at a local university which involved working with prosected cadavers. Long story short, 20 minutes in I passed out and had to be carried out of the lab (talk about embarrassing moments...). This is only the third week of a 12-week course. How do I get through this? Is this a sign that medicine isn't for me?

    To note: I have never had a vasovagal response before, I did eat breakfast/sleep/drink water before lab, and I've seen plenty of "gross" things before (including cadavers, though from a bit of a distance).
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  3. wtr24

    wtr24 2+ Year Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Its a pretty weird experience and certainly takes some getting used to. This does not mean medicine is not for you!
  4. kyamh

    kyamh 2+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2013
    The first time I performed a perfusion I passed out at the end...still not sure why I made it through the whole thing and passed out in the last 5 minutes. I didn't do a thing about it and have been fine ever since, it seems that experience helps. Also, try to not lock your knees while you stand. I was told that locking your knees can contribute to fainting.
    Reckoner and mrh125 like this.
  5. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2011
    You can get used to it. I've been elbow deep in a cadaver's abdominal cavity (he had diverticulitis, btw) and had no problems. Others there, not so much. You may need to alter the way you mentally approach them.
    It was kind of weird for me to be around the corpse of someone who used to be able to carry on a conversation with you, but the squick factor isn't a problem.
  6. turayza

    turayza 2+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2012
    Wow, hope you're feeling better now! Since you'll be working with cadavers for another 9 weeks, you have some more time to see if you get accustomed to them (you probably will).
    I was giving a presentation for freshman orientation and my partner just fainted midway through the presentation. No obvious reason we could figure out. It never happened again :shrug:
  7. dyspareunia


    Mar 6, 2014
    Stop using phrases like "vasovagal response" and you'll be fine.
  8. Wasted Energy

    Wasted Energy

    Nov 1, 2013
    *Refer to the last line of your signature.
    optimistic3 and mdambitions like this.
  9. MaybeDr

    MaybeDr 2+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2014
    Nice job. You'll be fine. I takes decent amount of time to get use to the exposure.

    I used to work at a clinical research facility in which the trial involved the injection of the drug intravitreally. Extremely hard to observe at first. I thought I was going to faint in the OR during my first shadow of retinal detachment repair. After a month working it got better. It'll get better for you too. What helped me was watching the procedure on youtube first but I'm not sure the protocol behind filming cadavers.

    Helpful tip for cadaver labs, apply vick's vaporub to the tip of your nostril. You won't be able to smell a thing and it'll make you less squeamish.
    Elewynne and mrh125 like this.
  10. mrh125

    mrh125 Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Aug 4, 2013
    lol, I remember the first time i watched an open heart surgery and blood was squirting everywhere they had to put me on a bed because I almost fainted. Don't let it get you discouraged. You can conquer anything through experience and a positive attitude (and maybe xanax if it gets too bad and your medical professional recommends it :p)
  11. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

    I'm near the end of third year and had to excuse myself from the table during a procedure as I was feeling the swoon come on. Sometimes your body just doesn't want to cooperate. Don't think too much about it.
    Elewynne likes this.
  12. PreMedOrDead

    PreMedOrDead I'm sure you'll get in... 2+ Year Member

    May 19, 2012
    A dark, dark cave
    Your only logical choice now is to pursue a new career. Sorry, Nick.
  13. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

    Thus the reason why I'm becoming one of those fake doctor psychiatrists. ;)

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    DermViser likes this.
  14. PreMedOrDead

    PreMedOrDead I'm sure you'll get in... 2+ Year Member

    May 19, 2012
    A dark, dark cave
    Reminds me of one of my favorite Scrubs scenes:

    Edit: I also find it almost endearing how different this clip is if you take the part where he talks about the 4 reasons he joined medicine out of context with the rest of the clip. It goes from being the typical outwardly-selfish and humorous Dr. Cox and changes to a vulnerable man facing essentially a midlife crisis.
  15. Goro

    Goro 7+ Year Member

    It happens. Pretty soon you'll be eating donuts in there.

  16. PreMedOrDead

    PreMedOrDead I'm sure you'll get in... 2+ Year Member

    May 19, 2012
    A dark, dark cave
    Mmm, formalin-glazed donuts.

    SakuraBear likes this.
  17. LACMA

    LACMA 2+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2013
    Hey! This doctor that goes to my church (she's an obgyn) actually said that once she got into medical school she passed out when she saw the cadavers too, but then she got used to it. She is a very successful doctor now! So don't let this stop you from pursuing your dreams!
  18. Ventric

    Ventric 7+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    No worries, it could happen to anyone. You'll get used to crazy stuff by the end of medical school, you'll see some crazy ass ****.
  19. VisionaryTics

    VisionaryTics SeƱor Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    You'll be fine. I remember one of my good friends hitting the deck during the first or second week of anatomy. I had trouble eating the first night coming home stinking like a corpse....after a couple of weeks I just got used to everything tasting like formaldehyde.

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