Anatomical material

Need for Anatomical Material

Anatomy, which is the study of the structure of the human body, is one of the most important courses in education of a physician. It is also of fundamental importance in the training of dentists and of those in ancillary fields, such as nursing and physical therapy. In most of these fields, the study of anatomy comes first and serves as the foundation for other courses. Anatomy is studied in many ways; one of the most fundamental is dissection of the human body.  Having finished their basic course in anatomy, students frequently take special or advanced courses. Doctors in residency training programs often pursue special courses in anatomy, and doctors in practice may undertake a review of anatomy. Finally, with advances in medical research, it is increasingly necessary to engage in special anatomical studies, particularly in the field of surgery. In view of the various needs in teaching and research, there is a continued need for anatomical material.

Sources of Anatomical Material

In most states, the anatomical material comes primarily from city, county, and state institutions in which the patients have died without known relatives. Usually, the laws in the respective states provide that the medical school shall receive all such unclaimed dead.  

In recent years, however, it has been the practice of the medical schools in Michigan to not accept unclaimed bodies for teaching purposes  Many individuals have instead willed their bodies to science prior to death. General interest in the procedure is increasing every year, and a number of state legislatures have taken steps to provide state laws to cover such bequests. In Michigan, Revised Anatomical Gift Law, amended 2008, Act 39, section 333.10111 allows for donation to an accrediated medical school for research or medical education.

Every year, the University receives an increasing number of bequests. Each such bequest is deeply appreciated, and each plays a vital role in medical and dental teaching and/or research. It seems clear that an increasing number of such bequests will make it possible for medical and dental schools to carry out their anatomical teaching or research in the proper fashion. The wholehearted cooperation received from the general public, the clergy, and the medical, dental, legal, and mortuary science professions is deeply appreciated.