Cadavers: Human Body and Body Donation

Topics: Human body, Dissection, Cadaver Pages: 4 (1645 words) Published: April 24, 2013
London 1828. A series of 15 murders by suffocation in a local boarding house results in a $25,000 dollar profit and the execution of two men. Columbia 1992. Similar crimes are committed by a poor garbage scavenger for the same purpose. What commodity could be so precious that men were willing to kill for it for over a century? Human bodies. Good morning! My name is Meredith Cola and today I will be talking to you about the history, controversy, and vital importance of body donation and human dissection. I will explore both the radical and practical reasons human bodies have been used for science in the past and explain to you why I believe body donation is a vital factor in the advancement of the scientific community in an attempt to persuade you to consider donating your body to science. Human dissection and the fascination with cadavers dates back to ancient Egypt where King Ptolemy was the first to dissect whole bodies of convicted criminals. This activity was used to satisfy both the king’s personal curiosity and to serve as a punishment worse than death. Thus, from its infancy, the use of cadavers was seen as socially taboo, and a fate only applicable to the poorest and lowest of society. Herophilus, a prominent ancient Greek physician, continued this tradition and was the first medical professional to perform live dissections, partly as a punishment, to more than 600 prisoners. In the 18th and 19th centuries as the Enlightenment was sparking people’s academic curiosity throughout Europe, interest in human anatomy became popular, and the demand for whole human cadavers grew exponentially. However, the public’s attitude towards human dissection remained unsupportive, mostly due to religious criticisms and traditional mindsets. Bodies were complicated, and for the most part, completely misunderstood. One Chinese physician simply explained the organs as having army ranks with the heart as the commander in chief, but how could anatomists unlock the mysteries...
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