Pharos-Tribune

Multimedia

May 31, 2012

Medical students learned on the bodies, now honor the donors

(Continued)

Harder for students to process were the moments when they see glimpses of nail polish, feel a strand of hair, and especially, touch fingers and hands.

Mark Real, 22, became momentarily unnerved when his hand accidently slipped into a handshake with the table's cadaver, a 94-year-old woman. "It felt very familiar," he said. "I stepped back for a second. I had to compose myself."

His tablemate, Mark Mariorenzi, 24, had a similar experience when he touched her hair.

"That's when you realize that it's not an objective lab like we're used to in biochemistry," he said. "You get flooded with emotions, of your own mortality, of loss and sorrow."

Medical schools don't pay for body donations. Georgetown's medical school gets about 225 requests a year from people who want to donate. Some restrictions apply — no autopsies, no major surgeries, no bodies weighing more than 200 pounds. Also excluded are those outside a 50-mile radius from Georgetown's campus in Washington, D.C., unless the family can pay for transportation. Bodies are typically used 18 to 24 months after donation. Most donors choose to remain anonymous.

All remains are cremated. About half the families request the ashes. If the families choose, they can receive the remains after the donor Mass, as was the case last week. The others are buried at a nearby cemetery in a section reserved for Georgetown's anatomical donors.

Donors include blue-collar workers and "people of note," said Mark Zavoyna, operations manager for the donor program. Some people choose to donate because their disease was cured and they want to give back to medical science. "They know this is a game changer for students," he said.

Arnold Linn was a carpenter. The longtime Vienna, Va., resident was 76 when he died of pancreatic cancer in 2009. His wife, Nancy, a retired Defense Department budget analyst, wanted someone to learn from his disease.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Multimedia
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.