10:07 PM

Today was the most unique, amazing and humbling experience! I dissected my first human cadaver! I have dissected worms, frogs, pigs, mice and cats, but this was first time ever cutting into human flesh. The MED program allows us the opportunity to take Gross Anatomy in the medical school in the same labs the medical students use throughout the year!  In previous anatomy classes, we were presented with human tissue and organs that had already been excised, but the experience a fresh cadaver was completely new to me. I was both excited and nervous.

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to "greet" our cadavers before we began dissection. We walked into our lab room to see blue body size bags that held the cadavers that our groups would be dissecting for the remainder of the course. I stood slightly anxious, as my group mate unzipped the bag and revealed our cadaver. The face and genitalia were covered with cloths and I took it all in, as I looked over the body that I would eventually be cutting open the next day.

In Anatomy Lecture, we discussed the history of human dissection and where our cadavers came from. In lecture, we learned about "grave robbers" and how centuries ago, it was forbidden by the church to dissect human bodies... how is one someone supposed to learn anatomy without ever inspecting the anatomy?  We learned that only willingly donated cadavers are used in our labs. Learning this, I realized the amazing gift that someone had given us! The ability to advance our medical education! The donor and donor's families gave us opportunity to learn.

I also realized the humbling experience of cutting into human flesh and how it is a special privilege shared by few. As a future medical professional, I will have to opportunity to poke and prod in any other context would be completely inappropriate and very well illegal... (I once read a quote about how doctors essentially get away with assault and battery). How many people in their lifetime will ever say they saw what the inside of another person looked like or actually held a heart or brain in their hands?

All in all, it was a great experience! At the end of the day, I was elbow deep in cadaver, one of my group mates even had fascia on her neck, we all smelled of formaldehyde and were in desperate need of a shower, but I can't wait to get back to lab to see and learn more!

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