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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Donate your body to science to save funeral costs.

We all want scientific progress.

Governments want it. They think that scientific progress means more innovation, more invention, and more businesses mushrooming. They think that it means more jobs. In their mind, science creates jobs. So they want science.

Teachers and educators want it. They think that the bright young children who dream about stars and space and atoms and chemical reactions will make the world new again. 

Parents want it. They want their children to study hard, to get good grades, and study science. Then when their children become chemists and physicists and earn big dollars, they will be safe. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

And sometimes, children want it too. They like science fiction. They like science.

I'm not sure if you agree, but for me, a medical degree is a science degree. A doctor can heal me, and take away my ills. If it's not science, it's magic.

It's science. I think.

Whether you think it's possible, or impossible, you're right.

And science needs your body.

Medical studies need bodies, so that medical students can practice cutting into corpses and sewing them up again. There's no fun in dissecting rubber dummies, and parents want their children to experience a more "realistic" education. 

I can hear you think: cutting up a corpse on an operating table seems more realistic? Than what? Cutting up a live patient on an operating table?

It's just that medic students need cadavers more than the rest of us. To make my point:

Did you think that hairdressing students would appreciate styling the hair of corpses?

Did you think that cosmetic students would want to try putting make-up on corpses?

Did you think that art students would want to paint still life based on corpses?

There. I've proved that medical students are about the only students who have some use for corpses. The corpses are already dead, so medical students are perfectly free to cut up corpses.

We should encourage them to experiment with different surgical styles on these cadavers. By the time they actually do surgery on a live patient, they'd have had a lot of experience with the dead.

A serious problem that medical schools face, as one article I read put it, is that there aren't enough cadavers (sorry, I used the word "corpse" earlier) for medical students to practice on.

So why donate your body?

Because it's expensive to have a funeral. GBP or USD, it costs a few thousand. In Malaysia, it could be more than RM10,000. Think of the peanuts and the coffee that you'll need to have. Think of the tables and the tents you need to put up.

Because you want to contribute to science. Your organs will be studied by scientists. Dissected. Photographed. Maybe kept in a jar of formaldehyde. Some aspiring artist like Leonardo Da Vinci might make sketches. (Not likely.)

And because you will help to train the next generation of doctors. This is how the dead save the living. By giving the young doctors a chance to hone their skills. Because the dead can't get any more dead than dead.

Just don't be yourself. Try it for a day. See what happens.

But it's mainly to save costs.

If you see the news archives, people are doing it in the US. They're doing it in the UK as well. Donating their bodies to science. Saving a ton of cash on funeral expenses. 

They might be people who are too poor to afford the funeral costs.

They can't even afford a cremation, what more a proper burial plot.

And then there are "bereavement" services. They set up tables and tents while you have a funeral wake at home. After a few days they escort your body for the burial.

Cremation, burials, and bereavement all incur costs.

It costs you nothing when a van comes from the university and picks up your corpse.

How about donating your body to science?

I don't think anybody would turn you into a modern day Frankenstein.

But if it happens, that would be kinda cool, too.

Thanks for reading.

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