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November 15, 1965


JAMA. 1965;194(7):824-825. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090200132030

There is an increasing demand for human bodies, to be dissected by medical students learning anatomy. New medical schools are created, old ones increase the size of classes, and all schools try to reduce the ratio of students per cadaver. Also, the paramedical professions, such as nursing, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy, are using more and more bodies for dissection. And the supply diminishes.

During the 19th century, many states passed anatomy laws providing that unclaimed bodies should go to medical schools. However, these laws no longer supply a satisfactory number of cadavers for dissection, simply because there are fewer unclaimed bodies.

Nothing can replace the human body in the teaching of anatomy. And no discipline is more fundamental to the education of a physician. What, then, can be done to ensure an adequate supply of subjects for dissection? Voluntary donation is a potential solution. There are legal complications which have

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