“Forever Remembered by Tomorrow’s Doctors” is the inscription on a specially commissioned bench which was unveiled after a HYMS Service of Thanksgiving for the relatives and friends of all those who have donated their bodies to the medical school for teaching and research purposes during the last 10 years.
Held at the University of Hull, it was attended by some 170 relatives, students and members of HYMS staff.
Civil celebrant Alastair Devine welcomed everyone and introduced first and second year students, Elizabeth Dale and Jack Sherlock, who lit candles to remember those who had donated their bodies.
The Dean of HYMS, Professor Trevor Sheldon, spoke about how indebted the medical school is to those who bequeath their bodies.
“It is 10 years ago that we took in our first medical students and since then over 700 of our students have qualified and are now practising medicine, many of them in this region,” he said.
“As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, it is an appropriate time to formally acknowledge the altruism of those who bequeathed their bodies to us; to remember them and to recognise publicly the effect that their gift has had on people they never knew.
“Giving of oneself, literally, without return is the greatest act of selflessness. It is the ultimate contribution to humanity and we are humbled by it.”
Professor Sheldon added: “Your loved ones have become part of our team of educators; through their gift they became teachers, helping to give students an understanding of the human body and developing the technical skills of future surgeons.”
Chair of Anatomy Professor Paul O’Higgins explained in his address that many medical students no longer had the privilege of working with actual human tissue, instead using artificial models.
“We are proud and privileged to be able to carry on this tradition in HYMS, and we do so because of the generosity of ordinary people who want to make a contribution and make a difference,” he said, explaining how, through the gift of the donors, research had been carried out into how the skull and bones of the face work together and grow after an operation for a common condition such as cleft lip and palate.
Readings were given by Liz Scott, a HYMS third year student, and Dr Peter Bazira, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Anatomy.
Mr Sandip Nandhra, a HYMS alumnus from the first cohort of HYMS, spoke about his experiences as a medical student and how important the anatomy sessions had been to him. He talked of how far-reaching the gift of a donation was in terms of helping patients through all the doctors that are educated by it.
The service was followed by the unveiling of the memorial bench outside the Loxley building at the University of Hull.