Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cavorting With Cadavers

I recently saw a review in Slate for Dissection:Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine. In this book, authors Warner and Edmonson have compiled photos of med students posing with their anatomy class cadavers through the years 1880 through 1930.

While these photos may not be suitable for the squeamish, I can't help but see within them considerable charm, ingenuity and the black humor that is pervasive to this day among those of us on the front lines in the medical field. Certainly, photos such as these would be very difficult to manage (and rightly so) in these, more politically correct times.

Click here for a small slide show presentation featuring a few more photos of med students proudly posing with their cadavers.

I'd also like to add that in this day of small digital cameras and cell phone cameras, this "art form" may still survive in some small way today. Please feel free to comment anonymously and let us know if this is, indeed, true!


Monique said...

i love it.

dethmama said...

@Monique.. And so do I.

Gail Rae said...

These are wonderful! I couldn't help but notice, in slide number 4 (the 1915 class), to the left there are two women members of the class! One of the women looks like she's African American, too! Cool!
I get what you're saying about the PC of our times but it makes me sad to think that there was less, rather than more, of this type of humor and flying in the face of dignity in today's medical graduates. I suspect there is nothing that fosters irreverence about life more than a class in dissection! I tend to think, considering that there is plenty of black humor in the medical blogs I've visited on the web, that stuff like this is out there, but maybe less disseminated now that previously. I'm hoping that other cadaver dissectors respond to your post with current stuff!
By the way, do nurses also dissect cadavers in their training?

dethmama said...

@ Gail Rae... I personally did not dissect ANYTHING in nursing school (alas). Any RN's out there with human dissection experience please give us a holler.