Pin It
Favorite

"Dissection," John Harley Warner and James M. Edmonson 

Not for the faint of heart, but a fascinating look at our grisly medical history

click to enlarge art14190.jpg

 

No matter what’s done, the guy on the table isn’t going to care. The surgery that’s about to be performed can go well, or it can go completely wrong and there won’t be any lawsuit. He’s not going to be concerned about scarring or recovery.

That’s because he’s dead. And someone is about to learn from his cold body.

In Dissection, you’ll take a fascinating peek at the history of Anatomy & Physiology classes from a century ago. And you’ll be thankful that you live now.

“During the nineteenth century, the experience of dissecting a human body was more prominent in the education of American doctors than any time before or since,” says John Harley Warner in his introduction.

Back then, many doctors learned their craft by apprenticeship, and a chance to view the inner workings of the human body was precious. Then, as now, students looked upon cadaver dissection nervously — as they would with any important rite of passage — and professors cautioned them to keep in mind that the body used to be a living human being with loved ones.

To procure bodies, grave-robbing was all too common; at least, until the deceased relative of a former president showed up on a table. Later, unclaimed bodies made their way to A&P classes and the occasional generous donor came under the knife.

As you page through Dissection, several things slowly dawn on you. First, amazement that med school students actually made Christmas and Easter cards and postcards with photos of cadavers in various degrees of flayed. Second, surprise that large numbers of African-Americanonly and women-only medical school classes existed in the 19th century. And finally, discomfort over how gowns were few, masks were completely lacking, decomposition must’ve been ferocious, and latex hadn’t been invented yet. Nobody was gloved.

Warner and Edmonson point out that several medical school students died of infection contracted from the corpses from which they were learning.

Dissection, then, is not for the faint of heart. But it’s a fascinating peek at our medical past.

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • Zags Come Home
  • Zags Come Home

    Hoopfest is bringing together some of your favorite Gonzaga alums
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • Hoopfest 2016
  • Hoopfest 2016

    All the highlights and details you need for this year's big basketball weekend, June 25-26
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • Something Fishy
  • Something Fishy

    Mermaids, hucksters and more mermaids await audiences looking to beat the heat at Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
The Light We Can’t See: The Photography of Erv Schleufer

The Light We Can’t See: The Photography of Erv Schleufer @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Terri Schlichenmeyer

Most Commented On

  • A Family Affair

    Two sisters have returned home, hoping to leave their mark on the region's rising restaurant scene
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • I Saw You

    Week of June 23rd
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • A-wassailing in Airway Heights
  • A-wassailing in Airway Heights

    After caroling annually for more than two decades, one man wouldn't have Christmas any other way
    • Dec 23, 2014
  • Requiem for a Year
  • Requiem for a Year

    2014 died this week; it was 1 year old and it kind of sucked
    • Dec 30, 2014

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation