Someday, they’ll need to keep their cool when a baby is lodged wrong in a mother’s birth canal; when a bone breaks through a patient’s skin; when someone’s face is burned beyond recognition. Doctors do have normal reactions to these situations; the composure that we strive to keep under stressful circumstances is not innate. It has to be learned. The discomfort of taking a blade to a dead man’s skin helps doctors-in-training figure out how to cope, without the risk of intruding on a live patient’s feelings — or worse, his health. We learn to heal the living by first dismantling the dead.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Dead Body of Knowledge
Christine Montross writes succinctly, beautifully and persuasively on how important it is for medical students to dissect a dead body even though they can see everything inside a body through medical technology: