GARY, Ind. (January 29, 2013)--After finishing their work on cadavers, medical students often hold memorial services to honor people who have donated their bodies to science, but at the Indiana University School of Medicine-Northwest, the ceremonies have a surreal twist.
Relatives gather in the laboratory, around steel tables where the remains of their loved ones are stored after the bodies have been studied.
The tables are decorated with flowers and candles, or even flags for military veterans.
Medical students join the families and read letters of appreciation.
Ernest Talarico Jr., the director of anatomy coursework who began holding the ceremonies in 2007, says they humanize the learning experience.
He says the education that donated bodies provide is invaluable for teaching doctors-to-be how the body works and what causes things to go wrong.