medical students; undergraduate medical education; cadaver; dissection; medical humanities


Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Body Regions | Medical Humanities


“Hands” is inspired by my first encounter with a donor in the cadaver lab during my first year of medical school. This poem highlights the intimate relationship between the medical student and their “first patient” and captures the factors that helped me realize the grandeur of the dissecting experience. Through an awareness of the donor’s hands, I became viscerally aware that the cadaver is a real human being who donated their corporeality to help students learn. The bilateral vulnerability of this experience is a critical milestone in the development of health care providers. Given the recent transition from in-person to virtual training, the memorialization of these humanizing moments is critical.