The History and Use of Cadavers Essay

962 Words Nov 3rd, 2013 4 Pages
The History and Use of Human Cadavers
Ryne Diamond
Grand Canyon University

For the past two-hundred years, dissection of the human cadaver has been the gold standard for teaching aspiring medical professionals the networking and layout of the human body. Surprisingly, cadaver usage has had a rather curious history. The use of a human cadaver dates back to 300 B.C. with the Greek physician and father of anatomy, Herophilos, who is noted as being the first person to dissect a human cadaver (Korf & Wicht, 2004). Herophilos’ anatomical discoveries were no small matter. Because of his dissections, we know that the brain is center of the nervous system and where its ventricles lie. We also know where the route taken by sinuses of the
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For the first time in nearly 1600 years, cadavers were being used for the advancement of scientific knowledge once again. While medical students were finally able to practice their future trades on a nonliving human body, the mean by which the bodies were obtained was still frowned upon and very illegal. In addition, there were those who would ruthlessly murder others to use their bodies for anatomical purposes. It was probably the concept of giving students tactile practice before handing them a living body, and the shamelessly detestable “anatomy murders” running rampant in the 1800’s that persuaded the government to finally change the legal standing of cadaver use. In 1831, we were given the Massachusetts Anatomy Act. This act allowed for the legal obtainment and dissection of human cadavers (Dyer & Thorndike, 2000). For the next 50 years, donating one’s body for scientific cadaver use would become more acceptable and commonplace. However, it wasn’t until 1882 that a medical institution, the Chicago College of Physicians and Surgeons, would offer a curriculum that incorporated cadaver dissection (Perry & Kuehn, 2006). It wouldn’t be until 1918 that an organization, The Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois, would manage the body donation program for medical research and educational institutions (The Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois, 2013). Following the opening of the Anatomical Gift Association, there have been over