02 September 2008

Pre-dissection reflection

I've finally put my finger on why dissection is making me feel a little hesitant and slightly uncomfortable. It's not cutting into a body per se; I was fine while watching surgeries. It's the fact that dissection is intentionally destructive. Surgery is about health and healing, about the best interest of the patient and their future functionality and quality of life. Dissection is about complete and total deconstruction with no consideration for the future. It feels like a violation because this is invasion with no intent to heal; it's taking apart a human lego set piece by piece knowing that not only can you not put it back together, you're not even going to try.

On the one hand I want to be respectful, this was a person and even in death they deserve to be treated well. On the other hand, I want complete detachment and dehumanization because otherwise, how do I (inexpertly) flay someone's father/brother and just go home and make dinner?

In some cases, the body donor willingly gave themselves, but the family did not. How do I look those family members in the eye, knowing that what I'm doing is against their wishes? I don't really want to meet the family (now); that will only make it harder to keep cutting. Do they really want to meet me? Do they really want to see who is doing this to their father/brother? Will I look undeserving to them? Not what they imagined a future doctor will look like?

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