WSU looking for bodies for medical study - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WSU looking for bodies for medical study

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University is looking for people to donate their bodies after death so new students can have cadavers to learn from. 

Hundreds of people have already pledged their bodies, but the university says more are needed. 

“We feel that we need to significantly increase the number of donations we receive each year,” said David Conley, director of WSU’s Willed Body Program , which has been in place since the early 1970s. “In addition to the normal structure and function of the body and human variation, students learn about professionalism, death and the deceased” from cadavers, he said. “They learn about the effects of aging and disease.”

“Students who get the chance to work with these cadavers get so much out of it,” said Ethan Payton, a recent WSU graduate and a teaching assistant in the Pullman lab. “A lot of people who take anatomy classes elsewhere don’t get this opportunity.

How to donate

Conley said WSU’s Willed Body Program doesn’t recruit donors.

“A lot of it is through word of mouth, from social workers and health care professionals,” he said. “Donors are grateful for the care they have received from their providers, so when they hear about the program, they want to help and pay it forward.”

But with the demand for bodies about to increase, he said it’s important to let more people know about the opportunity to donate their bodies to medical science.

“I compare a donation to a scholarship,” he said. “Instead of giving money to the university and writing out a check, individuals make a perpetual gift. Our students who learn from their donations take their knowledge forward, all over the world, and become physicians and dentists and pharmacists and nurses - and other people will learn from them.”

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