Intended for healthcare professionals

This Week In The Bmj

Body donors are respected in Thailand

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 16 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:0-e

Medical students' experience in the dissecting room can be fascinating and frightening. Winkelmann and Güldner (p 1455) look to Thailand for a view on the ambiguous status of the cadaver, which carries personal as well as material qualities. Thailand has no shortage of willing body donors, partly because they thus attain the status of great teacher. This status is conferred in an elaborate dedication ceremony. Students know the name, age, and cause of death of the body they are dissecting. A cremation ceremony takes place at the end of the course. These ceremonies define the atmosphere and ethical framework for dissection courses.

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