Andhra Pradesh: Cadavers become a rarity for private medical institutions
Viskhapatnam: Cadavers to conduct anatomy classes in private medical colleges are slowly becoming rare, with institutions trying to make do with simulators and digital bodies, which according to anatomy professors is bad practice, as students are deprived of hands on experience, an absolute essential, for the study of anatomy.
With few individual donations being made of bodies for medical purposes, private institutions are left with no options, but to buy cadavers, by paying thousands of Rupees.
It is believed some cadaver purchases are made at a price as high as Rs. 25,000 or even more for conduction of anatomy classes at private institutions. A majority of the cadavers donated go to government colleges.
So pathetic has the scene become, that there are people looking for dead bodies on railway tracks, to sell them off to colleges in need of them.
Worse still it is alleged that the Railway Protection Force(RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) are giving away bodies found on tracks to rag pickers for selling to private institutions, in order to avoid investigations on unidentified bodies.
The Council regulations call for 15 bodies per year, for each medical college. There are 30 medical colleges in the state with a student intake of 150 per year in each.
“Due to the shortage of bodies, the managements have been insisting that professors manage the class with one body for about three months. After a new body comes, only then the used body the old one is disposed of. When some students are attending classes on the subject of hands, others focus on other parts of the body. However, once a batch used the body, it would be immediately frozen for the next batch classes,” a private college medical student told Hans India.
According to information, 90% of bodies donated, go to government general hospitals. There are a large number of unclaimed bodies available in government general hospitals. After completing formalities, the hospitals donate the bodies to medical colleges.
“There is a shortage of bodies for anatomy classes, but mostly in private colleges. All the government-run medical colleges are getting adequate bodies for anatomy classes. Sometimes, we are also sending the unclaimed bodies to the private colleges. The anatomy classes with simulators and digital bodies are not a good practice.
The student would not get a real experience. The students should touch the body in the class, only then they will become a real doctor. Simulators and digital bodies are useful in other classes like orthopedic but strictly not for anatomy classes,” said P V Sudhakar, Principal of Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam.
Preferring to remain anonymous, a private college source revealed that a majority of the private medical institutions are presently facing tough circumstance, in the procurement of bodies for medical studies.
“In all communities, there are strict traditions and rituals against disturbing the body. Only on very rare occasions, some people give declaration donating their bodies for medical classes. Yes, sometimes we are procuring the bodies at a high price as there is no alternative,” the source added.