Lessons from the Gross Anatomy Lab

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The gross anatomy lab.

The gross anatomy lab. Mitch Eaton, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mitch Eaton, NPR

Gross anatomy students at the University of Maryland Medical School are nearing final exams, and as they unwrap their cadavers on one of the last days in the lab, it's clear that a lot of work has been done this semester. Legs and arms have been dissected down to the bone. Internal organs are gone. And as NPR's Melissa Block discovers in the second of a series about the end of life and the gift of teaching, the students themselves have changed.

Professor David Pumplin instructs medical students in the lab.

Professor David Pumplin instructs Ally Parnes (in bandana) and fellow students in the lab. Andrea Hsu, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Andrea Hsu, NPR

Note: Some of the gallery slides include graphic images.

"We're definitely a lot more comfortable with the body," student George Kochman says. "We've had to flip the body and move the body and stick [our] hands in various cavities."

Most of the students share this confidence, working far less tentatively than they did on the first day. They've learned a great deal from the cadavers, and they say they've owed it to the donors to make the most of their time in the lab.



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