Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cadaver Lab Troubles

This week I thought I would give an update on our cadaver lab. We have been faced with a variety of obstacles as the weeks have gone on.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my group’s cadaver is a male with quite a bit of fat on him.  After we spent countless hours struggling with cutting the fat off the muscles, we thought everything would be easier from there on out.  We were wrong.  A couple weeks ago we dissected the neck.  Part of the embalming process created a jumble of indiscernible muscles on the right side of the neck. This left us with only once chance to get the muscles and vasculature correct on the opposite side.

Our next problem came when it was time to remove the ribcage (Side note – cutting the ribs makes a terrible sound, but it is oddly satisfying).  After we cut through all of the ribs, we struggled with separating the ribcage from the thoracic cavity.  As I looked around I noticed that all the other groups had their rib cages on the table and were already looking at the lungs.  The instructors came over to help us and they couldn't figure out what was causing the trouble.  After a lot of pulling, we finally removed the ribcage along with part of the diaphragm and some of the right lung (not supposed to happen).  Once again we thought all our troubles were over; then we looked more closely at the lungs.  Our right lung was about 1/3 (if even that) the size of a normal lung.  At least the left lung was of normal size, but we will have to borrow another group’s right lung to study for the practical.

Lesson learned: The organ systems/body of a cadaver may not resemble the pictures in the textbook!  In a way I’m glad that Albert (that’s what we call our cadaver) has been so difficult. It’s easy to get frustrated when things do not go the way they are supposed to, but a key component of being a PA is that you must be able to adapt! 

It looks like we’ve got 3 busy, exam-filled, weeks ahead of us until we finally reach a much-needed spring break. So back to studying I go!

1 comment:

  1. On the upside, a difficult cadaver is probably more like what you'll have on autopsy rotations! :)