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"Sitting in on" cadavar disecting?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Southwell, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. Southwell

    Southwell

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    How might one go about having the opportunity to "sit in on" an autopsy, or the dissection of individual organs, if one is merely a high school student headed into the biomedical research field? I would really enjoy being able to gain this kind of real-life learning and experience, and I hope this opportunity is made available somehow through some hospitals or medical organizations. Is anyone aware of this?

    Thanks a Million,
    Southwell
     
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  3. IckeyShuffle

    IckeyShuffle MS1 t-minus 1.5 months.. 2+ Year Member

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    why not try and shadow a surgeon for a day and watch some surgeries? do you know and doctors that you could get in contact with?
     
  4. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Contact the state or county medical examiner (NY & LA are cities that have their own but it is usually a county or state function). You could also contact a hospital pathology department & ask to shadow a pathologist.

    It might be a good idea to have a letter of recommendation from your H.S. anatomy (or biology) teacher discussing your experience with animal dissection and your maturity.
     
  5. BloodySurgeon

    BloodySurgeon Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Take an anatomy class with lab and do your own dissections on cadavers :D .
     
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    You are only a high school student so chill out for a while. Odds are you won't even still be premed by the time you near the end of college. There will be plenty of dead people left to play with by the time you get to anatomy class in med school. Autopsies are something that is best approached when you reach a certain level of maturity, and may be more disturbing than a med school cadaver dissection, where the bodies are more carefully selected and prepared. Quite honestly, seeing dead children or bodies in various degree of decomposition, immolation, mutilation etc is simply not something you really want to jump right into.
     
  7. instigata

    instigata 10+ Year Member

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    lollll...when i read the title, I read "sitting on" cadavar disecting? :laugh:

    I won't mention the sp errors..sigh
     
  8. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    hahaha me too. Oh and to answer the OP, I don't know about the laws in our area, but the medical examiner's office used to let our premed amsa students view autopsies but they were college students.

    As Law2doc said you have plenty of time to do that later.
     
  9. Muscles00GT

    Muscles00GT 2+ Year Member

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    As alluded to previously, take an anatomy class in college where you get to work on cadavers.
     
  10. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I don't see why an ambitious HS student should wait until college or med school to see an autopsy. I think it would be a very powerful and motivating experience.

    It also shouldn't be too difficult to find a pathologist willing to let you observe one. The ones I've worked with have been very enthusiastic about showing me what they do.
     
  11. karmega5

    karmega5 MS2 2+ Year Member

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    I got to see part of a cadaver lab while in high school, and found it to be pretty rewarding- though it was a prepared cadaver, not an autopsy. If you're near a med school or PA school, contact student affairs and see if they'd let you shadow a student for a day.
    It was fun, but I will say not life altering, and I didn't have enough of a background to learn a lot. But it was neat watching my dad turn green as I showed him the heart valves!:p
     
  12. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I think people should realize it's a world of difference. A cadaver isn't nearly as life-like, tends to be adult, tends not to be mangled, burned, rotting, full of blood and natural fluids. If you haven't done either you absolutely want to start with a cadaver and I have a hard time thinking a high schooler is really particularly emotionally prepared to handle an M.E. autopsy. What's the rush?
     
  13. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

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    I'm not sure why quite so many people think this is a bad idea. Had the opportunity presented itself to me, I would have loved to do a little shadowing in HS. Personally though, I think watching surgery would be a lot less disturbing than watching an autopsy, but that's up to you. Ask your primary care physician if s/he knows any friendly surgeons that you might be able to shadow.
     
  14. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

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    That would probably only work if you personally know a student. I could bring visitors into anatomy lab for the first half of the semester (before the bodies got really mangled), but I doubt a random high schooler could get in there.
     
  15. karmega5

    karmega5 MS2 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I knew a student, but sometimes places let pre-meds shadow med students for a day or two. I just might not mention that I was a pre-pre-med and see what they did. Also, some schools are really into outreach (My school involves high school students interested in health fields- never into a cadaver room that I know of, but tours and classes). Never hurts to email, right?

    Also, I agree that a cadaver lab is way easier on the psyche than an autopsy. I'm not sure that I could handle one of those even now.
     
  16. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc 10+ Year Member

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    I agree. I have never seen an autopsy but I have seen a cadaver lab. The difference between a cadaver and an autopsy is a world of difference. Cadavers just like animal specimens from biology lab classes like anat and physio or bio 2 tend to be very highly preserved bodies. They are cleaned up quite a bit and even though such labs smell they don't do smell as bad as live tissue. The skin on the legs of the cadavers I saw at MUSC a few years ago almost looked and felt like rubber. On the other hand, fresh tissue is much difference.

    I used to do some work with the neurosurgery research dept and we would dissect and take tissue samples to send off from rats that had just been beheaded. The difference in dissecting a live rat vs. the more highly preserved cats of anatomy lab was a world of difference. The rats were not preserved so the tissue was softer, blood soaked everywhere, and there were more bodily fluids to deal with. On the other hand, the cats smelled more of formalin and formaldehyde and were much harder to cut through and less disturbing looking by the time they'd been given for dissection.
     

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