Post-mortem live!

It’s very rare that on a brisk Sunday morning you would find yourself in a room with a decomposing body and be asked to identify the cause of death, but this is precisely the situation that our Year 13 Biology students found themselves in a few weeks past.

Post-mortem live (as you may have seen in an episode of Dragons den) features the worlds first “semi-synthetic cadaver” (although it was never clear which parts were actually synthetic), and is a touring show designed to engage and educate in anatomy and the post-mortem process. Primarily aimed at practicing medical staff or undergraduates, it was nevertheless an excellent piece of personal development for A-level students, especially those with an interest in the medical field.

In the scenic leafy surroundings of Whiston hotel, we were scrubbed up (as in the gowns, not washing) and brought into the main lecturing room. Clips from the Dragons Den episode were playing, along with various clips from Mediplayer (the parent company) advertising the various online CPD that people could access. The day alternated a lecture/practical system, in which the students had a crash course in the specific aspects of anatomy and pathology that linked in with a specific part of our post-mortem identification.

The cadaver in question was a wonderfully macabre centrepiece, fully opened with organs on display. We were informed of the circumstances around the man’s death, and some of the key features of his life. The students were intermittently hands-on with organ dissections, guided expertly by the supporting staff. We would then move on to the next aspect of the man’s grizzly demise.

There was a wonderful dichotomy between the grim goriness of the dissections, and the crisp and clinical lectures. The students came away deeply engaged, and having learnt some hugely interesting anatomical factoids.

Did you know “scalp” in an acronym? Fascinating stuff. 

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