Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good News

Here's the e-mail I sent the Anatomical Donations Coordinator on Monday:
I just picked up my father's cremains from Mountain View Mortuary. My sister and I were wondering what use the medical school made of his body. Given the timing, he obviously wasn't used as a medical-school cadaver -- after my phone conversation with you last March, I know that was doubtful anyway -- but was he indeed used to help train flight surgeons, as you had said he might be?

Any information you can give us would be most appreciated. We miss our father very much, and it would be healing for us to know how his donation was used, so we can more precisely picture how he will help others after his death.
And here's the response I got today:
Thank you for your e-mail. Your father's remains were utilized during a summer session by 4th year medical students who will be going into surgery. Please know that his unselfish gift will indeed further medical education in a most significant manner.

Our annual memorial service will be in the spring 2010 and I will be sending out invitations in late March with the details. I encourage you and your sister to attend as it is a lovely event that helps family members with closure in the death of their loved one.
This is a huge relief to me. Dad did some good even after his death, which would have pleased him, and I'll get to go to the med school memorial service. I hope Liz will be able to make it out too, but since she teaches until late June, that's probably not possible.

I'd had a horrible vision of their not being able to use Dad at all, of his body just going to waste. I'm so glad that didn't happen.


  1. That is good news. Peace.

  2. Better news than you realize.

    Rather than being half-heartedly cut apart by eager but inept freshmen, those surgery-bound seniors undoubtedly used your dad's body to practice what they were actually going to do for an entire career.

    Although we all take the same med school courses, different specialties use various portions of the curriculum in their day-to-day work. Obviously surgeons need to know anatomy better than psychiatrists. Within the heirarchy of "usefulness" for medical student study, your dad served at the very pinnacle.

    I hope that brings you even more solace.


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