Twelve donors remembered

Xenia Polorotoff, a physician assistant student, pays her respect to the donors. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

UF School of Physician Assistant Studies students silently lit 12 candles and presented a dozen roses, in honor of the men and women who gave them the ultimate gift —their bodies to learn from after death. 

For the first time, the UF School of Physician Assistant Studies students held an Aug. 24 memorial service to remember the 12 cadavers in their anatomy class, which was taken during the summer ‘B’ session. 

“It was a privilege to be able to learn from our donors,” said student Mason Bonner, who led the ceremony. “People who in life we never knew, but who allowed us to begin our journey as health practitioners.” 

The 60 students of the school’s class of 2013 held the service at a lecture hall in the Health Science Center Auditorium. They remembered the donors, who they knew only by age, occupation and cause of death, with poems and other reflections on what their lives may have been like. 

Physician assistant students, gave a rose and lit a candle for every cadaver used for anatomy class. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

The UF School of Physician Assistant Studies is one of only a handful of Physician Assistant educational programs in the nation that provide human cadavers for dissection in the gross anatomy course, as well as the advanced clinical practicum course. 

“I would like to thank him for giving us an opportunity most don’t have,” said student Tannelle Clark of her group’s male cadaver. 

Besides learning firsthand about the intricacies and workings of the human body, students also saw the impact certain conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, had on people physically. 

Cian Drewry thanked his cadaver for his “unconditional gift” that allowed him and his classmates to learn how to care for future patients. 

“You have given me an amazing gift of knowledge,” he said.