Students, faculty and staff remembered body donors and thanked their families for contributing to medical education.
On Saturday, May 12, 2018, Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) medical, pharmacy, physician assistant and biomedical sciences students, along with faculty and staff members, gathered together to honor the families of 35 donors who gave their bodies to further medical education.
An hour-long service, preceded by a breakfast, was planned by first-year osteopathic medical students led by DO Class Chair Morgan Fuller (DO ’21).
“Your family members have been our first patients and greatest teachers,” Fuller said addressing the approximately 200 attendees.
“Their parting gift has given us a foundation of knowledge and lessons in generosity that we will carry with us the rest of our lives,” Fuller continued. “With every patient encounter we have in our future, the memories of our first patient will shape our diagnostic process and our understanding of our patients’ suffering.”
“Giving your body to medical science is such a noble, generous and selfless act,“ Seiple said. “There is no higher calling than to be of service to your fellow man.”
Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Selby, who represented the anatomy faculty members at the ceremony, reflected on the value of students learning firsthand from donors’ bodies.
“From an anatomy textbook, you can learn the names of muscles, memorize the locations of arteries, make a list of nerves,“ he explained. “But you don’t get a sense of how they fit together without seeing them for yourself.”
Selby added, “In a book, these are just words on a page—when you see them for yourself, you realize that the human body is amazingly intricate.”
The students lit candles in honor of the donors and presented each donor’s cremains to their family.
“These candles symbolize the memory of your loved ones, lit with the flame of knowledge that they shared with us,” said Ashitha Rajerus (DO ’21)
During the service, organizers played a video in which students shared their gratitude for the donors. The service also featured a performance by a brass ensemble during a time of reflection. Family members had the opportunity to speak about their loved ones as well.
Tracy Bachmann spoke of her mother, Dorothy Hershey, who donated her body to science.
“Mom always loved giving and helping others,”Bachman said. “During her last days, Mom continued to give back by donating her body to medical science and assisting future physicians.”
Assistant Professor of Anatomy Dr. Michael Selby reminded families that donors contributed to the development of future healthcare providers.
He concluded, “Just know that your loved ones have helped these students learn anatomy, helping them in their path to becoming physicians, and will in no small way touch the lives of countless patients that they see down the road.”
Learn more about the GA-PCOM body donor program at pcom.edu/bodydonor
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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