The dead teach the living

26 November 2012

UCT's Faculty of Health SciencesSpiritual connection: The health sciences faculty paid tribute to the cadavers used by its students in anatomical research.

It is a different and emotional event.

Recently, second-year medical students in UCT's Faculty of Health Sciences recited poems, performed songs and expressed in words their appreciation to those who have donated their bodies for medical teaching and learning.

The annual Cadaver Commemoration Ceremony, according to Professor Laurie Kellaway, head of the Department of Human Biology, is an occasion to mark the beginning of the students' anatomical investigations - they start working with cadavers in their second year. It is also a "spiritual time" in which to pay respect to the cadavers, "your teachers", Kellaway told students.

"We need to remind ourselves that these cadavers were once human beings who had families, who were loved and missed; and, therefore, accordingly, they need to be given the due respect that we observe today," he said.

The event was attended by the families of the deceased, among others.

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