There were four students working with the body we were studying and we didn’t know anything about him as a person. The medical school was very explicit that we were to carry ourselves with the utmost respect when we were in the lab with the body and we were to respect this gift that was given to us. This almost didn’t need to be said, but I’m glad it was. Very few people get the opportunity to study a body in detail and learn the anatomy as they learn the organ systems. There is no book, no video, no plastic model that can give the same experience. This is the way doctors have been learning medicine since the beginning.
In the Spirit of Medicine features the essays of Dr. Arne Vainio, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet. His essays on life, work, medicine and spirit are published in "News From Indian Country," and you can find the link to this story here.