Thursday, July 2, 2009

Heart Disection, Gross Anatomy Lab, and John Hay Library

Today was an incredible busy day! In the morning we went to the Gross Anatomy Lab and saw a dissected cadaver, a human head cut in half vertically, and got to hold a human brain. I thought that I might be a little uneasy being in the presence of a human cadaver but I was completely comfortable and I touched the cadaver. The cadaver that we saw is ten years old and its known as "born to raise hell" because of a tattoo that the cadaver has on the arm. I loved being able to have this experience because now I know that I can be comfortable around cadavers.

In the afternoon we did two activities, we dissected a sheep heart and we went to the John Hay Library to view medical illustration folios. The Heart although you are only making one cut it is quite difficult to dissect because of the fat. Unlike the fat in the cat which was soft and a bit liquidy the cardiac fat was more solid yet it wasn't hard. After we cleared up the vessels and identified them, we cut the heart open in half and identified the right and left atrium as well as the right and left ventricle. Doing the heart and cat dissection this week really made me feel like I was at a disadvantage because all the other students in my class have dissected more than just a fetal pig and a rat which made it easier for them to do the dissections. I feel like if I would have dissected more than just a fetal pig and a rat the Teacher Assistants would not have to be helping me as much as they did.

When we finished cleaning up our workspace in the lab we went to the John Hay Library to view medical illustration folios from the 1400's to the 1800's books that were done when doing autopsies was a controversial topic, when plagiarism was not yet established as something against the law, and when very few corpses where available which resulted in scientists stealing bodies from graves or taking the bodies of criminals that had been hung. It was very interesting to see how intricate ans accurate these drawings were.Some of them where funny though, there was one where is was a picture of a women sitting down showing the muscles on her back yet her cheeks were rosy and her hair was nice and had a ribbon on it. On the other hand there was also other books that demonstrated the crude reality of autopsies and where very explicit.


Don Gosney said...


Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

Thanks Carla for sharing your experience in class. I have to say that it sounds fascinating, but I am not much of a biology fan. This is why I chose the law rather than medicine, but I am glad that you are enjoying the course.

However, how does it compare to the classes at Richmond High School? What have you learned about yourself? Does this class provide a "wake up call" to what rigor looks like and what you need to have for readiness for college? Let us know.

Take me "inside the walls" and give me more insight into the students in your class, where do they come from? Do they come from Public School backgrounds? What do they think of the Ivy League Connection? Have you spoken to them about the Ivy League Connection?

You previously posted a photo, but how does she feel now about her experience at Brown? Do the both of you see the time at Brown the same?

Also you get a chance to go back to Wellesley College with your high school teacher, Ms. Pelly. I hope that you enjoy it as much the second time as the first time. Also I heard that you will visit Smith College, another all womens college. Give us some pictures and tell us your thoughts and impressions.

Also have a great time in New York and tomorrow in Newport.

Have fun!

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District