T1 – 003: Two Cadaver


Christopher Carr

Christopher Carr does stuff and writes about stuff.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Gerry says:

    What book is the initial quote from? It reminds me of Brave New World but I couldn’t find it and it is driving me crazy. Apologies if it is in the text and I missed it. I read through twice. Nice post.

    I remember my cadaver class as a med student. It was a strange experience that was pretty much useless to me in the long term given that I never intended to practice surgery. We tried to be as respectful as possible but there was a certain familiarity that crept in over time. It was very sad.Report

    • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Gerry says:

      Hi Gerry! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece.

      I apologize for driving you crazy! The introductory parable is an original, something I wrote over ten years ago, based on a particularly vivid dream. I’ve been shopping it around for some time. A few months ago it was politely rejected by an editor at the New Yorker. (I appreciated that he took the effort to send me a response.) I thought it would be an appropriate jumping-off point for this particular post.

      The creeping, disappointing familiarity is something I intend to cover in the next installment of this series. Part Two (this part) is intended as a sort of reprieve before I return to the darkness of the first installment.

      Although I have some idea where this series is going, I’m still on the fence about some things and not in any kind of rush to get a post out if I don’t think it’s finished. Some of the comments on the last post were really helpful for me to formulate themes and motifs for this post. I’m definitely interested in hearing more about your experience. There is not a lot of material on this topic out there to work with, yet the dissection of a human remains the indoctrinary experience at every medical education program I am aware of.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Part of the problem of getting cadavers eventually resulted in people in the poor house having their bodies donated to science as a way to help them settle their debt to society.

    Unfortunately, the tolls of being in the poor house wreak havoc on one’s system and if the only systems you ever look at are systems that have havoc wreaked upon them, you might find yourself with a faulty baseline.

    I’ve heard stories about people in the past having their organs “lifted” because folks who stand up have different organ placement than a cadaver on a slab… “why in the hell is your liver all the way down there?” sort of thing. Bad assumptions built on bad assumptions with no real way to figure out that your assumptions start from a bad place.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    For how long have human cadavers been dissected for scientific and educational purposes? Seems that there must have been powerful religious and cultural taboos to overcome.Report

  4. 1) Your familiarity with both anatomy and chemistry are impressive. I lament (but not really) how much of this stuff I’ve forgotten.

    2) This was another gorgeously written piece. Simply brilliant.Report