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’Knowing everything and yet nothing about her’: medical students’ reflections on their experience of the dissection room
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    Would there be benefit in mandating writing tributes?
    • Laith Evans, Medical Student Norwich Medical School (UEA)

    Thank you to the authors for writing such an insightful article.

    In addition to the comfort offered to friends and family of donors’, the act of writing tributes enables reflection from students about their experiences and relationship with their cadaver, which is alluded to by the authors.

    I imagine for first year students this process is both cathartic and valuable in acquiring closure after forming such an intense and unparalleled relationship with their donor. At Norwich Medical School, where I am currently studying, anatomy dissections occur regularly throughout all five years of the course but with particularly focussed study occurring in the first and second years. I remember vividly the confusing emotions I would have after saying goodbye to each year’s donated body. A strange sense of sadness and loss, very similar to those of the Cambridge students but also gratitude towards the donor, I was proud of their decision to donate their body and pleased that one of their last wishes (to donate their body to medical education) had been fulfilled.

    The anatomy department at Norwich Medical School, similarly to Cambridge’s, encourages each of their dissection groups to write tributes to be read at a memorial service held each year, to which family and friends of the donors are invited, as well as a selection of students. Other members of my dissection group always took this mantle but I wonder if in hindsight group reflection and write-up would have...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.