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Columbus Dispatch: What Happens to Bodies Donated to Science

With the number of bodies donated to science increasing each year, have you ever wondered what happens to them after they’re donated?

Typically, bodies donated to medical research are used as cadavers to help surgical residents and medical students practice and develop new surgical procedures.

At OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, a group of first-year surgical residents at OhioHealth and other healthcare systems recently practiced below-the-knee amputations on cadavers. OhioHealth’s surgical residents complete more than 150 different procedures on cadavers each year.

“You don’t want anyone’s first time to be on a real patient, so that’s where the cadavers come in handy here,” Charles Pugar, DO, a vascular surgeon at OhioHealth, told Dispatch reporter Megan Henry.

While working with cadavers primarily teaches medical students and surgical residents more about anatomy, it also teaches them how to treat bodies with professionalism.

“You treat everything with respect and just realize that it’s a special opportunity we have to be able to work in this situation instead of just reading out of a textbook,” said Matthew Glazier, DO, a first-year orthopedic surgical resident at OhioHealth.

Both he and fellow orthopedic surgical resident Braden Passias, DO, said they were grateful for the opportunity to practice, especially with a procedure that requires careful technique.

“It’s a huge blessing to have the opportunity,” said Dr. Glazier.

OhioHealth receives full-body donations from Science Care, a Phoenix-based whole body donation company and nontransplant tissue bank. Restrictions to body donation may include information about whether an individual contracted any contagious diseases, suffered severe trauma or was a patient in a recent surgery.

It’s important to note that body donation is not for everyone and should be carefully considered before a decision is made.

To read the full article by the Columbus Dispatch, click on their logo below.