Hunting high and low: Sahiwal Medical College short of cadavers, bones

Published: February 11, 2012

“In an anatomy class you can’t proceed without a cadaver. With about a hundred students standing around a table, it is very difficult to see how to do dissections,” the female students said. PHOTO: APP

LAHORE: 

It took Sahiwal Medical College about two years to get registered with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). Now it has run into another problem: there’s a shortage of cadavers and bones.

There are only two cadavers for 200 students. A hundred students each are enrolled in MBBS Part I and II. The first batch of students, who have now been promoted to the second year, kept complaining about this last year. They were assured that the problem would be solved once the college got registered with the PMDC, said a student who wanted to remain anonymous.

“In an anatomy class you can’t proceed without a cadaver. With about a hundred students standing around a table, it is very difficult to see how to do dissections,” the female students said. She added that the college also had an inadequate stock of bones, “Teachers have told us to rent bone packs on our own from King Edward Medical University (KEMU) and Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC) in Lahore, she said, “but it’s very difficult to do that.”

“Teaching standards and availability of necessary apparatus should not be compromised because the college is newly-established,” said another student. He said that the government should ensure that the college gets the cadavers it needs, he added.

An anatomy professor at the KEMC said that the college allows a maximum of 40 students per cadaver. Ideally, a Sahiwal Medical College teacher said, there should be 15-20 students per cadaver.

Recently, residents of a village near Sahiwal captured a boy from a graveyard. The boy turned out to be an MBBS student who was hoping to get his hands on some bones from old graves. “The villagers let the boy go after he showed his student identity card,” an official of the college told The Express Tribune.

The Sahiwal Medical College principal Professor Dr Zameer Ahmad told The Tribune that arranging for bones and cadavers wasn’t the responsibility of the college. “We don’t have a provided mortuary here,” he said, adding that the college hoped to address the situation soon.

An official of the Khawaja Safdar Medical College, Sialkot said that shortage of cadavers and bone packs was something all new medical colleges were facing.

When contacted, a Health Department official said that the college was facing the problems because it was new. “We will write to the deputy commissioner to issue a circular to the police stations concerned that unclaimed bodies in the district be handed over to the college. “The college principal should ensure that students have the necessary tools for learning,” said Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Regsitrar Dr Ahmad Nadeem Akbar.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2012.

Reader Comments (1)

  • Amjad
    Feb 11, 2012 - 5:16AM

    I don;t remember that anatomy class with cadavers was all that valuable. unlike western countries where people readily donate their bodies to universities for teaching, most Muslim are reluctant to have their dead ones used is this fashion. Maybe the school should invest in good quality anatomy models and figures to teach medical students.

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