procedures on dead people

  1. How many hospitals allow practising procedures on dead people by students? Do you prolong codes in order to allow the students lots of time to be successful? Do you charge for those procedures that are done after the code is obviously going to be unsuccessful (ie asystole since found 40min ago).

    And even worse...Do you open the morgue so students can practice on newly dead during slow times?

    I think that all these are insane but I am a minority of one at my hospital, because
    "how else will they learn,
    it leaves no permanent mark on the body,
    it doesn't hurt the patient,
    and if the public needs practitioners with excellent skills in an emergency situation they have to tolerate (and pay for) procedures on the dead"

    So who is right? I need input from both sides so I can decide what MY response will be in these situations.
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  2. 57 Comments

  3. by   micro
    cannot be legally done without organ donation or other paperwork signed...
    medical schools commonly use corpses for such things....
    as do some nursing schools.....
    etc

    i would give permission for my body to be used for such things.....
    dust to dust and if it could be a benefit for up and coming medical students......
    of course I would be an organ donor first......
    or for research...
    life is for the living.....

    sorry, for not a more technical answer
  4. by   jefccu
    It is not only illegal, but it is disrespectful. Where is the line between practice, abuse and out right destruction of the body, and who are we to assume that the individual or their family would approve. This should be reported to your admin. and if it continues be sure to steer clear, because if there are no consents or agreements written out, someones going to find out and all will end up without licenses, jobs and self respect. Good luck.
  5. by   joyrochelle
    yeh, i would have to say very similar things here. I was kinda shocked when my girlfriend who works in the ED inthe same hospital told me off this practice.

    As i am a new grad, I can definitely appreciate the opportunity to learn while being able to ask questions and not being afraid of freaking out the patient by being ignorant, I really think it's kinda terrible to do that to someone...mreo for the family's sake. I think if I were to code i would want my body utilized for instruction purposes....tactfully, respectfully, not abusively, but I would feel bad to make my family wait longer to spend time with my fallen body...


    my....fifteen cents.
  6. by   micro
    my 0.02 again,
    please forgive my niavete', when i read this the first time....

    I thought it was just posing a question, ethical, not an actuality...

    I have not experienced this in my practice or experience...

    although unfortunately not doubting that it occurs...

    I have no problem with this when it is done with permission and with everyone's agreement prior to the death...but not immediate to the death...that is time for continued "patient" and family care

    ethics in health care.....just touches the surface of much much much that we may see and deal with in our careers and lifetime
  7. by   mario_ragucci
    This is obviously a laugh :-) What proceedure can you practice on a dead body. IV? Cath?
    Now, I would like to see an autopsy, and eventually I will (my own) in order to see internal body parts. Dead are dead, right?

    This is why discintergration is the key :-(
  8. by   canoehead
    This is not a rhetorical question and currently is accepted practice here. Although we also need consents for autopsies, organ donation, invasive procedures we can insert a central line in a "dead" body, delay calling the code prolonging the agony for the waiting family and then charge them for the privilege. It seems to me absolutely unethical but since so many reasonable people I have talked to are OK with it I wanted some opinions from out in the rest of the world.

    We don't charge them for supplies used after they are officially declared dead- that would be unethical
  9. by   Jenny P
    I once ran for a code for a very old woman and she was declared dead and the dam! intern or resident was reintubating and reintubating her "trying to get it right and learn how to do it!" I made him stop and told him to get out of the room or I would call her relatives and report him to them!....I was so angry about this because it was disrespectful and desecrating the body. I was in tears, but I kept apologising to the poor dead woman because I felt that it was totally wrong for them to do that and whether or not there was to be an autopsy, that kind of treatment was harmful to the pt. (who had been alive and talking not 1/2 hour before this)and also to the intern or resident-- he'd lost the respect for all humanity when he treated that elderly womans' body as if it was just a mannekin or rubber dummy.

    I think that those people should be made to "practice" on their own parents or grandparents-- then we'd see how much practicing would happen! And to think that they delay calling the codes and CHARGE the families for this! THAT IS SO TOTALLY WRONG!

    Have you talked with your state mortuary association to see what is and is not legal when caring for the dead?
  10. by   aimeee
    originally posted by canoehead
    although we also need consents for autopsies, organ donation, invasive procedures we can insert a central line in a "dead" body, delay calling the code prolonging the agony for the waiting family and then charge them for the privilege.
    i am appalled. absolutely appalled.
  11. by   fedupnurse
    I haven't seen this in years, but we had a really obnoxious resident right after I became an RN who wanted to "practice" on a newly dead patient. I told him if he went within 5 feet of the patient I would make him a soprano on a permanent basis. Would you be practicing if this was your mom in that bed? Don't think so. Get out NOW!
    Fortunately I had an assistant nurse manager at the time who didn't cow tow to the docs and take their side. She was in full agreement. He left the room and never made that suggestion again! He also was booted out of the program before his first year was up. GEEEE....wonder why?????
  12. by   l.rae
    i had a similar experience once. afer the code was called in the er, the attending asked, "does anyone here havea problem if one of the residents intubated the patient for practice?" this particular attending had always been one of my favorites. i spoke up, i told him i wasn't comfortable and asked all of them how they would feel if this was their mom or grndmo. dr.______said, "that's perfectly ok, we won't do this." i had no idea though that this is illeagle....wish i had known then. we don't have a major problem with this in the er, but i don't know what happens on our floors...........lr
  13. by   EMTPTORN
    GREETINGS,

    WHEN I WENT TO PARAMEDIC SCHOOL WE WERE ALLOWED TO PRACTICE INTUBATIONS ON CORPSES. THIS WAS ALLOWED IF THE DOCTOR IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM CONSENTED. THIS WAS THE MOST REALISTIC AND STRESS FREE WAY TO LEARN INTUBATIONS. I FEEL AS IF THIS HELPED ME LEARN TO INTUBATE BETTER, AS IN 13 YEARS I HAVE NEVER CAUSED TRAUMA TO THE OROPHARYNX.

    WE HAVE BEEN TOLD BY OUR NURSING SCHOOL INSTRUCTORS THAT WE WILL NOT PRACTICE ON CORPSES ANY SKILLS; I FRANKLY DON'T SEE ANY BASIC NURSING SKILLS THAT NEED TO BE PRACTICED EITHER ON DEAD FOLKS.
  14. by   CATHYW
    Originally posted by micro
    of course I would be an organ donor first......
    life is for the living..... [/B]
    Canoe, I have a real problem with this, as do you. Our resp techs used to attempt ET tube insertions on recently deceased people. They would simply pull the curtain before the body was moved, and have at it! I complained, and said it was disrespectful. My answer was, "how else do you expect them to learn?" Multiple attempts with different ACLS intubation "heads," is how! It's how I learned!

    I'm not quite as unselfish as Micro-I am a donor-of anything they can use, but what's left gets buried.

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