It’s absolutely essential for teaching, but not easily sourceable. So, the faculty of ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Sanathnagar, in Hyderabad have chosen a less explored way to get cadavers to teach the dreaded anatomy subject to students.

They are sensitising the public about the importance of donating bodies to colleges to teach MBBS and postgraduate students, and for medical research.

Tough anatomy
Anatomy is one of the subjects taught to first-year students of MBBS, dental and para-medical courses. It is taught by dissecting human cadavers. In fact, after the medical college was established in 2016, its administration managed to get four cadavers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. However, arranging logistics to transport the cadavers by road, a distance of nearly 1,586 km, was a challenge.

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To overcome this, they came out with the idea of convincing people to donate their bodies after death. “In the past three years, 12 persons have donated bodies. And 20 more have pledged to donate,” said M. Srinivas, dean of ESIC Medical College.

The shortage of cadavers for medical education is acute. Consider this. One cadaver is used to teach 16 medical students. And some private medical colleges have a poor student to cadaver ratio. The ESIC Medical College authorities said the hitherto unexplored method of body donation opted by them is helping their MBBS students effectively learn the basics of human anatomy.

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So much so that their third-year MBBS students have achieved 41% distinction in anatomy, which is claimed a rare achievement. The distinction percentage in other prominent medical colleges in the State varies between seven and nine per cent.

Assistant professor in the anatomy department, Rohini Motwani, said they conduct awareness sessions on body and organ donation to explain to people how their cadavers, from head to toe, would be used to educate future doctors. The sessions are held at old age homes, schools and other places.

Students even perform a skit to make people understand the kind of doctor one would shape into if cadavers are not available to learn the foundations of anatomy. The faculty said they put everything on paper when a person pledges to donate body.

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After filling a form, a donor card is issued. After the donation, an official acknowledgement letter expressing gratitude for donating body to the medical college is handed to the family members of the donors.

Cadaver, first teacher
“Cadaver is the first teacher for medical students. One cadaver helps 20 to 25 medical students learn the basics. And one doctor can save thousands of lives. So, donating one cadaver is like helping doctors to save thousands of lives,” said a faculty member. Dr. Srinivas, the dean, said they also invite doyens from different professions to deliver talks to infuse a spirit of learning among medical students. #KhabarLive