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Donation of body for anatomical dissection in Sri Lanka: a review


T. Chenthuran

University of Jaffna, Adiyapatham Road, Kokuvil West, Kokuvil, Jaffna, LK
About T.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine
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Anatomy remains central for Medical Education which forms the basis of efficient and safe medical practice. Dissection of a cadaver is deliberated as an essential and valuable tool in teaching macroscopic anatomy for medical students. Apart from gaining knowledge and skills, the anatomical dissection aids in cultivating humanistic values, behaviors, and attitudes which are essential assets for an empathetic future medical practitioner. This manuscript highlights the dynamic history of acquiring human bodies for anatomical dissection, with a particular emphasis on Sri Lanka. Knowledge on the source of cadavers, and the manner by which they have been obtained, is fundamental for medical students to realize the ethical and legal challenges associated with procurement of cadavers. This knowledge will help to further students’ understanding of the evolving mindset of society, both past and present, regarding anatomical dissection and voluntary body donation. Through the study of the history of procuring cadavers, students are better positioned to appreciate the determination, generosity, and altruism of donors who have bequeathed their bodies for the educational needs of others. This, in turn, enables the students to consider the cadaver as their teacher, first patient or at best body of a fellow human being; not only to ensure that the body is treated in an ethically acceptable manner, but also to provide an empathetic foundation in students to provide the utmost care to their patients with kindness and due respect in their future medical practice. Thus the willed body donation plays a significant role in producing not only a competent but also a compassionate medical practitioner. In this manuscript, the body donation practices of Sri Lanka are reviewed along with the Taiwanese-originated silent mentor programme.
How to Cite: Chenthuran T. Donation of body for anatomical dissection in Sri Lanka: a review. Sri Lanka Anatomy Journal. 2021;5(1):5–12. DOI:
Published on 03 Oct 2021.
Peer Reviewed


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