Cadaver autopsy field trip


photo by Kim Dondanville

A group of students gather around a cadaver to learn its medical history. “I spend about 40% of my time in the lab. A lot of my job is more the coordinating of programs and marketing, but I help out in the lab when needed and am down there to check on schools when they are visiting,” Kim Dondanville said.

by Lydia Wiggins, Reporter

Mr. Cloe and his current anatomy students took a trip to St.Louis to watch an autopsy take place. The class left at six-o-clock Tuesday morning on a school bus to Saint Louis University’s Practical Anatomy and Surgical Education Program (AIMS).

The trip was an all-day affair with no stops. “The trip was for Anatomy students only. The trip focuses on performing an autopsy and dealing with cadavers,” said Mr. Cloe, anatomy teacher.

Cloe believes the cost of the trip was relatively cheap and will leave a memorable experience with each student. “The students do get informally quizzed by the presenters but the big focus is anatomy students getting to do hands-on work with actual human cadavers,” Cloe said.

Kim Dondanville is the AIMS coordinator. “It all began in 1991, our cadaver lab is the most interesting program. I think it’s interesting how each of our cadavers are unique. We have a total of seven for our AIMS programs, and although they are all female, there is something unique about each of them,” said Dondanville.

Every cadaver has a different medical past that can be easily pointed out during the autopsy.

“It’s always so fun to see students go to our cadaver lab and see the cadaver for the first time, their faces say it all. It’s not what they expected and they are usually a little apprehensive at first, but by the end of the program, they are all around the cadaver, as close as can be – and touching and asking questions. I think the biggest thing they take away is how what they are learning in the classroom is so important, but to see it in person, and how it looks in real life versus in a book – there’s no substitute for that.” said Dondanville

Ali Sills, current Anatomy student said, “It [the trip] was and wasn’t what I was expecting at the same time. I didn’t think that we would be able to be as involved as we were with the bodies.”

Sills has had Cloe before for Biology but didn’t know about the trip that would be planned for Anatomy. “The most memorable part was when the lady was showing us the knee but instead of putting the knee up slowly she shot the knee up and some people started gagging.”

“The most memorable part for me is looking at students’ faces when they first bring the cadavers out. Some are intrigued. Others are freaked out. The smell is something that you can never forget,” Cloe said.