A historical perspective: Infection from cadaveric dissection from the 18th to 20th centuries

Mohammadali Mohajel Shoja, Brion Benninger, Paul Agutter, Marios Loukas, R. Shane Tubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Today, the study of human anatomy utilizing the ultimate study guide, the cadaver, is relatively safe. In the past, however, human dissection was dangerous. Prior to the germ theory, antibiotics, and the use of gloves, cadavers were often life threatening to dissectors including both the teacher and the student. Medical students who graduated in the United States before 1880 were unlikely to practice antisepsis in the dissecting room. In the present article, we review human cadaveric dissection in Europe and the United States primarily from the 1700s to the early 1900s in regard to its potential for transmission of infection to the dissector. A brief account of the infectious hazards of human cadavers in general and those of cadavers used for dissection in particular is given. Clin. Anat. 2013.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Anatomy
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • anatomy
  • death
  • dissection
  • history
  • infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology

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    Mohajel Shoja, M., Benninger, B., Agutter, P., Loukas, M., & Tubbs, R. S. (2013). A historical perspective: Infection from cadaveric dissection from the 18th to 20th centuries. Clinical Anatomy, 26(2), 154-160. https://doi.org/10.1002/ca.22169