Tag Archives: Dissection

Learning anatomy in medical school

Peter H. Berczeller Dordogne, France   Dissection An excerpt from Dr. Peter Berczeller’s memoir, “The Little White Coat.”   On the second day of medical school, we were invited to meet the cadaver we would be working on for the next six months. I trooped up with the rest of the class into a large […]

Haunting poetic characteristics: the dissection scene from Doctor Zhivago

Timo Hannu Helsinki, Finland   Dissecting room from Edinburgh in 1889. Source: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images. Doctor Zhivago, a novel by the Russian poet Boris Pasternak, tells the story of physician-poet Yura Zhivago during the turmoil of the first decades of the twentieth century in Russia. The character of Dr. Zhivago is portrayed as […]

Why did Darwin drop out of medical school?

Richard Brown and Thalia Garvock-de Montbrun Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada   Plaque on the National Museum of Scotland where Darwin lived while studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh.  Erasmus Alvey (Ras) Darwin, the elder brother of Charles Darwin, completed six months of hospital training in Edinburgh in 1825-26 and then went to London to study at […]

Anatomy before Vesalius

Not until about 1300 were human bodies dissected for teaching and learning anatomy. In those days, dissecting a cadaver was an especially unpleasant business. Since there was no refrigeration, it was necessary to dissect the most perishable parts first—beginning with the abdominal cavity, then the thorax, and finally the head and the extremities. A dissection […]

Dissecting cadavers: learning anatomy or a rite of passage?

Emmanuelle Godeau Toulouse, France   In many medical schools, dissection of cadavers remains an essential component of the curriculum, even though surveys from the past 50 years have shown this is not the most efficient way of learning anatomy. Yet the persistence of dissections suggests a different role: a rite of passage and creating an […]