Woohoo! Winter break is here, but before I head off into the holiday madness I thought I’d make a post about a very interesting session I was able to attend.
On Tuesday myself and a few other BVIS students were able to attend a tissue harvest and embalming session hosted in our anatomy lab. It was a very interesting experience and something most people will never see. I have to admit that when it began I was shocked by how different an unprepared cadaver looked when compared to the bodies we worked with in our anatomy course. We were invited to join some students from a local mortuary school and sketch some of the process. The main point of the session was to expose the mortuary students to the process of tissue harvesting/donation and how it was still possible for them to properly embalm and prepare a body for funeral after such large sections of the body have been removed.
The session began with a tissue harvest from the back legs, as shown in the first sketch. They also proceeded to harvest the long bones of the arms and legs, a process during which I’ve got to admit forced me to leave the room for a moment as it made me very ill. I never had a problem with our preserved cadavers in class, but this felt very different and was much more graphic than I expected. I did manage to take a few breaths and come back for the rest of the process, though! I definitely have a new respect for the students who undergo this training- I have no idea how they do it!
After the harvest they began with the embalming. It was pretty tough to get a good view of the process and things moved very, very quickly so I could only get a few rough sketches. I got a lot of drawings of the back of embalmers, though! This was a very worthwhile experience and I’m very grateful that I was able to attend.