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Respectful burial provided for bodies donated for educational purposes

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2007 · Volume: XL · Issue: 8

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Pipe Maj. Harrell Sutherland and piper Kathleen Swanson from San Antonio Pipe and Drum lead the procession to the grave. Swanson also is curator of anatomical materials for the Health Science Center.
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Pipe Maj. Harrell Sutherland and piper Kathleen Swanson from San Antonio Pipe and Drum lead the procession to the grave. Swanson also is curator of anatomical materials for the Health Science Center.clear graphic

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Amid the wailing of bagpipes, the ashes of bodies donated to the Health Science Center for medical education were buried in a solemn ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on April 13 in Memorial Park, located on the university’s Greehey Academic and Research Campus.

The bodies were used by medical, dental and allied health services students to better understand the structure and functions of the human body.

Following opening remarks by Ron Philo, Ph.D., who directs the Health Science Center’s Willed Body Program, some of the students who benefited by working with human bodies expressed their appreciation to the families for their loved one’s selfless donation.

"On behalf of the first-year medical school class, I would like to express how thankful we are for the remarkable sacrifice these individuals made,” said Payal Patel, president of the 2010 class of the School of Medicine.

"This remarkable donation and sacrifice has provided physical therapy students with a kinesthetic and visual opportunity to appreciate and comprehend the intricacy of the human body in a unique way that a picture in a book could never illustrate,” added Angela Rosales, the 2007 Master of Physical Therapy class president.

Brian Black, president of the Dental School Class of 2010, added, “I firmly believe that one of the fundamental purposes of this life is to help others progress, and unless we lose ourselves in the service of others our lives are largely lived for no real purpose. These people who have graciously donated their bodies have demonstrated one of the greatest acts of service an individual can perform toward an institution of higher learning. Their only recompense was knowing that they were helping the future of medicine and in turn contributing to a healthier society. As our Dental Class comes to understand the significance of this selfless act, I encourage us to mirror this willingness to serve others through the health care we provide to the community.”


Brittany Williams, who represented the first-year physical therapy students, drops a flower into the grave.
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Brittany Williams, who represented the first-year physical therapy students, drops a flower into the grave.clear graphic

 

Following the remarks, those attending the ceremony were invited to cast a flower or handful of soil into the grave as a personal gesture of respect to those who gave their bodies to science.

For information about the Willed Body Program, contact Dr. Philo at 210-567-0149 or www.uthscsa.edu/csb/willedbody.

 
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