Body donation for medical school. In her bachelor thesis “In the beginning there is death”, Julia Bellack documents future doctors in a dissection course.
Text: Julia Bellack Fotos: Julia Bellack
The study of human medicine entails a comprehensive and complex field of theoretical knowledge on the structure and function of the human body, which cannot be entirely conveyed by reading and lectures alone. In order to get to know each individual structure and to link the functions and complicated positional relationships with each other, the close examination of the human cadaver as a teaching object is a basic building block at many medical universities in Germany and worldwide.
In the dissection course, the future doctors dissect preserved bodies right at the beginning of their studies in order to understand anatomy and thus lay the foundation for their professional future on real people. The cadavers come from body donors – people who agreed during their lifetime to donate their bodies to an anatomical institute for teaching and research after their passing. I approached the topic of body donation through documentary photography and explored it at the Hannover Medical School.
In my work I bring together the levels of everyday scientific work on and with the corpse, the deceased as a teaching object and the students with their thoughts and feelings together. With death as a taboo subject in today’s society, the project not only takes a look at the emotional side of body donation and the dissection course, but also encourages people to examine their own view of human transience.
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