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Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:40 am
by Spoonbill
It struck me the other day that it must be rather tedious for A-Level biology students to have to keep on dissecting just rats and frogs from one year to the next, so how's about we all donate our cadavers to the school for the students to dissect? That'd be much more fun for all concerned.

Or is the donation to science of a human body so obstructively regulated by grotesque entanglements of red tape that it'd be a complete non-starter?

I must say I rather fancy having my bones stripped bare by traumatised Houseyboys and Houseygirls and then having my skeleton reassembled and displayed for all time in a school biology laboratory, with a suitably insulting nickname applied to it and with cigarette butts being regularly inserted between its teeth by cheeky monkeys. Probably it would also be annually dragged out into the Quad in the small hours of the last day of the summer term and hung off the fountain or possibly even hauled up the flagpole on top of the water tower.

So now someone's going to tell me that donating my body wouldn't be allowable, for ten thousand different legal reasons.

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:33 pm
by J.R.
A somewhat gruesome thought, imho.

A friend of ours was successafully treated for cancer with a new trial drug, and he has donated his body to one of the top hospitals in London. He lives on the south coast and the cost of transporting his remains has a ceiling, meaning he will have to pay a bit on top, so to speak.

The interesting question of course is, how does he pay ?

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:37 pm
by Katharine
I'm not sure students are ever told anything about the body they disect. One Medic friend met the love of her life over their first body!

My sister is a leukaemia survivor and she has been told that the Centre* in London positively want her back. She was so far gone when diagnosed, in 2000, that nobody thought she would survive, the slides of her bloods are being used as teaching examples now. I don't know whether cutting her open after so long will tell anyone why she pulled through when many another didn't.

*She was treated at the Royal Free but now goes somewhere else for her annual check up, so the information above may be out of date!

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:40 am
by sejintenej
Katharine wrote:
Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:37 pm
I'm not sure students are ever told anything about the body they disect. One Medic friend met the love of her life over their first body!
With health and safety I'm not sure students would allowed within a yard of a scalpel let alone that horrible smelling chemical they store corpses in
She was treated at the Royal Free but now goes somewhere else for her annual check up, so the information above may be out of date!
Lucky woman; they had really good staff. I got successfuly treated in Norway by one who was on holiday for an injury at CH 12 years earlier which had defeated many so called experts.

Spoonbill in Bucks. I think they would prefer the buck (or even a doe)! As I understand it you need to get a licence from each county that you want to transport a corpse across so send them the avian namesake.

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:32 am
by michael scuffil
A corpse belongs to no one. CH can certainly take possession of your body. However, whether they would be prepared to pay the not inconsiderable costs of preservation is another matter. The question with the skeleton is more interesting. I see no reason why you shouldn't indicate that CH should have it. ('Donate' is not the right word, really.)

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:29 am
by Richard
The idea of teaching human anatomy at CH is an excellent one. But there are several difficulties, apart from the questions of cost and requiring facilities to store bodies, before use. In medical schools there is normally one cadaver for 6 students, so more than one will probably be required at CH. The expenses and technical details of the necessary ‘enbalming’ with formaldehyde can probably easily be overcome with (money and) a collaboration with a medical school, where often well over a dozen cadavers each year are prepared and dissected. This could be the cadaver source for CH, if necessary. Then generous OBs could bequeath their bodies to that Medical School. To my knowledge there is no GCE (is that term still in use?) subject, Human Anatomy, but that could easily be arranged. Human gross anatomy (cutting up the bodies) is normally accompanied by cellular anatomy studies. This would require more microscopy facilities and associated specimens. Again with sufficient funds and the cooperation of a medical school for the specimens, this is feasible. However the principal difficulty is with the law. There is a government official, the Inspector of Human Anatomy, who has the sole power to allow use of cadavers for dissection. S/he may not approve of such studies in schools.

If such dissection is allowed then who would benefit? One obvious group is would-be medical students and those wishing to enter the professions associated with medicine (physiotherapy, etc). But then Medical Schools might object, for surely 99+% of such students have had no pre-university experience of human dissection. So would the Medical Schools welcome CH’s pioneering efforts? In contrast an A level in Human Anatomy may, in time, allow exemption from universities’ anatomy courses. That course’s content has been steadily decreasing in recent years. In many medical schools the traditional year-long undergraduate anatomy course has been reduced by half. (The second surgical anatomical course, in a later year of study in many medical schools, would presumably be unaffected.) Another target group could be those zoology students studying at, say, A level. Human and animal dissections teach different things. In general much greater anatomical detail is studied in human cadavers, in part because they are larger. For dissection of small animals, one seeks more general principles in addition to acquiring dissection skills. But these differences could well complement each other for high school pupils.

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:13 pm
by Spoonbill
What a fearsomely erudite response, Richard. Very much appreciated.

On top of everything you mention as potential obstacles, I now find that even A-Level Human Biology exams are currently in the process of being done away with by the examining boards OCR, AQA and WJEC (and possibly by others, if others there are) on the grounds that 'Ofqual has decided not to allow reform of Human Biology AS/A Levels due to overlapping content with new reformed qualifications. As an alternative to AS/A Level Human Biology, we recommend our new AS/A Level Biology B (Advancing Biology) (H022, H422) qualifications. These qualifications include significant content that will be familiar from the Human Biology course.' (OCR)

2018 will be the last chance to re-sit the exam before it's consigned to oblivion. Rather shabby, I'd say, with a strong whiff of Dumbing Down.

So unless Christ's Hospital fancies starting up an extra-curricular club for pupils called Human Dissection Soc., it's looking rather bleak for them as wants to donate their liver-spotted corpses to the school.

Which leads us on to Idea #2: Woodland burials for Old Blues at Christ's Hospital. Once a suitable licence has been obtained, the school could start raking in the bawbees by allowing OBs to pay to be interred in the Bird Sanctuary. And since woodland burial grounds don't generally allow upright gravestones, there'd be nothing for drunken Sixth-Formers to kick down or otherwise demolish for a hoot. Just think of it: you'd be able to Rest in Peace within earshot of the Big School clock bells, the chapel bell, the shouting and whistle-blowing from the First XV pitch in winter and the thwack of leather on skullbone in the summer. Throw in a few pied wagtails and the occasional passing train to London and what more could you ask for?

But I'm still inclined towards the idea of having my skeleton removed from my body, bleached, sun-dried, joined back together again and then strung up somewhere halfway respectable at CH for AS/A Level Biology students to snigger at and take liberties with at Halloween. If you can't have a laugh, what can you have?

(PS: What happened to Jim Davidson's post on this thread? Did JR remove it because there was too much swearing in it? Or because there wasn't enough swearing in it?)

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:22 pm
by sejintenej
Richard wrote:
Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:29 am
The idea of teaching human anatomy at CH is an excellent one.

If such dissection is allowed then who would benefit? One obvious group is would-be medical students and those wishing to enter the professions associated with medicine (physiotherapy, etc). But then Medical Schools might object, for surely 99+% of such students have had no pre-university experience of human dissection.
My immediate reaction is "why?" If kids with C grades at GCSE Maths can't add 15 and 46 and those with that grade in French can't speak a word of French (and I have witnessed both those) then I can't imagine medical students with that dismal qualification being excused human dissection so their study has been in vain.

How many youngsters of that age are really certain that they want to go into those branches of medicine. Of those few how many are going to be able to persuade the school of their dedication to the subject?

Where will the school find appropriate teachers?

Many people freeze at the sight of blood let alone a corpse - how will the school be able to assess how students will react? No; it is not something you can shrug off - even experienced traffic police can get badly affected. I'm reasonably OK - I was trained at CH and saw my first corpse at the age of five but some colleagues I have worked with on the tracks (and my son was one) are badly affected and don't come back after a bad accident even with no fatalities.

No to dissection but a very big YES to advanced first aid and rescue training - it need cost almost nothing ands the school has already done it in the past.

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:22 pm
by J.R.
No thread from Dave by the Sea has been removed by me.

In fact, he is a forum moderator, but has not signed into this site since September last year !

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:14 pm
by sejintenej
Spoonbill wrote:
(PS: What happened to Jim Davidson's post on this thread? Did JR remove it because there was too much swearing in it?
J.R. wrote:
Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:22 pm
No thread from Dave by the Sea has been removed by me.

In fact, he is a forum moderator, but has not signed into this site since September last year !
Surely Dave by the sea is David Eastburn or have I misunderstood?

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:18 pm
by A Dirty Old Jack
Didn't Dave By The sea pass away, like Richard Ruck? Or am I confusing him with someone else? It would certainly explain why John Rutley couldn't locate his post.

Definitely put my name down for a grave in the bird sanctuary though.

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:05 pm
by J.R.
I am reliably informed that Richard Ruck is still alive and well and still residing not far from CH.

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:09 pm
by Spoonbill
I'd been wondering about Richard Ruck myself. In a week's time it'll be four years since he last exerted himself in this forum. Do we assume that he's been on a four-year bender? Or is the poor lamb gravely ill?

Richard, if you're out there and you're seriously unwell, the message seems to be that donating your corpse to CH isn't a goer.

You may, however, stand a chance of being buried in the Bird Sanctuary if you can find someone willing to dig you a shallow grave at the dead of night by the light of a flickering lanthorn.

Re: Can We Donate Our Dead Bodies to Christ's Hospital?

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:10 pm
by jhopgood
A Dirty Old Jack wrote:
Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:18 pm
Didn't Dave By The sea pass away, like Richard Ruck? Or am I confusing him with someone else? It would certainly explain why John Rutley couldn't locate his post.

Definitely put my name down for a grave in the bird sanctuary though.
David Eastburn is still posting on Facebook, and is alive and pottering AFAIK.
He last posted there on March 28 and is busy building an extension to his house.