Cadaver Labs through the eyes of medical students, EMS workers and an artist

In July, I'm attending a human cadaver prosection program to learn gross anatomy and total patient care. Before going, I'm studying anatomy, body donation ethics and trying to anticipate the anatomy lab experience: handling the bodies, what we'll be wearing, interacting with my team, the temperature, sights and smells.

To that end, I started looking for podcasts. Here are three I've selected that represent very different takes on cadaver labs: at a medical school, at a workshop for EMS workers, and from an artist.

Only Human: Every (Dead) Body Has A Story

"When it comes to dissecting a cadaver, medical students don't always know who is under their scalpel. This week, Only Human's Fred Mogul learns about a musician who spent his life educating others, and continues to do so after he dies."

Disaster Podcast: Cadaver Lab Provides Unique Educational Experience at EMS Today 2015

Stories about cadaver labs usually focus on dissection at medical schools, this podcast covers a different topic: EMS workers practicing procedures and trying equipment on a real person instead of a mannequin. One EMT reported higher success rates intubating patients after going through this workshop, where they practice "high risk, high frequency skills."

Here Be Monsters: Jonathan's Cadaver Paintings

In this podcast, an artist and graduate student attends the University of Washington's anatomy lab to narrate his experience viewing and sketching cadavers. Artists have studied cadavers for centuries but looking at his work while I listened made me question if it was respectful to the donors in ways that a 400 year old drawing - even a macabre, gruesome representation - never has.

Of all the podcasts I listened to, this one was the most thought-provoking. I came away with questions about disclosure to donors, consent from family and the psychology around respect for recent donors versus historical people. I didn't like the way this podcast was produced (whispering host, spooky background effects) but I very much appreciated hearing what almost amounts to someone's inner monologue as they approach the cadaver lab and donor bodies.

Jonathan's work can be found here: