By Rachel Prentice
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Extra resources for Bodies in Formation: An Ethnography of Anatomy and Surgery Education
The cadaver becomes a privileged object, not a person, but a quasi subject with whom students develop a bond that encourages many to take particular care of the cadaver and to remember it long after their laboratory experience ends. Anatomical language further reinforces anatomy’s status as a science of medical objects. Even the name of the body itself changes. ’’ We called it a cadaver. Once you use this term, it seems to me you’re not seeing the dead body. It’s in a medical context. Wendell said that medical language shifts the body into a medical context where dissecting a cadaver becomes something very di√erent from cutting up a dead body.
Explicitly INTRODUCTION 19 and implicitly, physicians and designers who are bringing new technologies and new ideas about practice into medicine challenge the methods of medical teaching that prevailed during much of the twentieth century. Some argue that the current system of medical learning requires overhaul (Fried and Feldman 2008; Satava 2006). Others defend traditional curricula but say that requiring trainees to develop some skills before they work on living patients would make operating-room teaching safer and would ease crushing time demands on surgeons in teaching hospitals.
They also chafe at the cost of running a willed-body donation program that provides medical schools with teaching cadavers. During eighteen months of ﬁeldwork from 2001 to 2006, I interviewed anatomy instructors at four medical schools, took a summer anatomy course, and did participant observation of anatomy courses, dissections, and other activities in two laboratories. Even among programs that remained most committed to traditional anatomy teaching, anatomists and technology builders often discussed the reduction or elimination of dissection at other schools, debated the merits of dissection versus demonstration with previously dissected materials, and considered how they could use imaging and modeling technologies to replace or supplement dissection.
Bodies in Formation: An Ethnography of Anatomy and Surgery Education by Rachel Prentice