photo by Jerry Lai

Feature Article

Real Life Anatomists

On September 15, Local Infinities did a preview performance of Corpus Delicti: Just Desserts for a class of 210 first year medical students at the University of Illinois Chicago, who are currently studying Gross Anatomy with Dr. Norman Lieska (Professor of Gross Anatomy and Expert Advisor to our performance).

After their sneak peak of Corpus Delicti, the students gave us their expert opinion on our performance. How did our theatrical dissection compare to the work that they do with real cadavers?

"More fat!" one student piped in. "There is fat everywhere in the real bodies." A number of the other students laughed and seemed to be in agreement.

One of the more surprising things we learned from these anatomists in training is that many don't like touching or have difficulty dissecting the hand. Many students said that they identify with the hand, or that the hand seems like the most human part of the body to them.

When Local Infinities asked the students about whether they perceived any taboos surrounding the practice of medical dissection, they told us that while they have no problems discussing what they are learning with their fellow classmates, they had to remember not to discuss dissection with friends and relatives at the dinner table!

The medical students said there are not as many taboos now about dissecting bodies in order to gain knowledge. Unlike in Dr. Tulp's time, there are now laws that govern the donation of anatomical gifts and how those bodies are treated.

Local Infinities would like to thank the students of Dr. Lieska's anatomy lecture for inviting us into their classroom and sharing their valuable feedback with us. Local Infinities would also like to thank class historian Jerry Lai for letting us use his pictures.

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