A memorial plaque commemorating body donors has been unveiled at the Flinders University Anatomy Museum.
The plaque was erected in the name of students and staff of the Medical College, past, present and future, to honour body donors and expresses gratitude for their ultimate altruistic act – donation of own body for medical education.
Flinders University medical and science students have an opportunity to learn anatomy through dissections and through inspection of the prosected (professionally dissected) bodies. This hands-on experience is essential in learning anatomy.
However, modern anatomy education has more to offer than just learning about the structures of the human body and their relations. Modern anatomy education also plays important role in the development of the non-traditional discipline independent skill, including professionalism and medical ethics.
“Indeed, our students learn, from their first day in the anatomy laboratory, how important it is to have a respectful treatment of body donors, who, in fact, are our students’ first patients. All this would not be possible if many of our fellow Australians haven’t decided to make a whole-body donation to local Medical Schools.” Professor Goran Strkalj
The newly uncovered plaque is also a reminder of a well-regulated system of body donation in Australia, which follows the highest ethical norms and the international guidelines on sourcing bodies for anatomical education.
“Unfortunately, these high standards are not the norm in large number of countries across the world where cadavers are acquired from unclaimed bodies from hospitals, jails and other institution or simply imported from the developing countries. Australian experience and expertise in this respect is a guiding light for many institutions around the world.” Professor Goran Strkalj
The plaque for body donors at Flinders is one of the many ways anatomists and medicos relate to the body donors. University of Adelaide, through which all South Australian donation, take place, organises an annual commemorative ceremony for body donors.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the SA universities, both academics and students, as well as body donors’ families.
Australian anatomists lead the way in humane and humanistic medical education and Flinders staff and students play important role in that process.