University of Michigan Anatomical Donations Memorial Service 2019

University of Michigan Anatomical Donations Memorial Service 2019


[ Music ]>>Greetings and good evening. My name is Dean Mueller. I’m the director of the
Anatomical Donations program and I’d like to welcome
you to this historical and very humbling event. We’re here to memorialize
the families, the donors of the families and
friends who gather here today. Many people make
this event possible, including the students,
teaching faculty, administrators and various other
U of M employees. I want to bring special
attention to two individuals: Martha Luzak and
Kenneth Thompson who work with our program on
a full-time basis. I’m forever grateful for their
dedication, their sincerity, the concern that they
give to every donor that comes into our program. I’d like to remind everybody to completely turn
off your cell phones and your mobile devices
at this time. We do this out of respect for
our donors and we also do this out of respect and honor of
their family and their friends that gather here today. I would now like to
begin our service by introducing the
Reverend Annemarie Kidder.>>Thank you. I invite you to please
join me in prayer. Gracious Creator of all that is, this hour our beloved
earth spins at your touch, as do the planets
surrounding us. As the season of autumn
begins, we’re dazzled by the changing colors of tree
and grass and garden and field. Your creation follows the cycle
of life, and its give and take. Apples need picking. Grain wants to be gleaned. And veggies beckon to be canned. How rich is your harvest
and all the gifts you offer. How small our own
offerings in return. Today we offer our gratitude. Gratitude for those who
have spoken a courageous yes in the face of doubt. For those who have pushed against the limits
of the traditional. For those who have reached
beyond concern for self and resolved to give what
bears long-term fruit. As today we grieve the
finality of their death, we ask that the empty space
left may gradually fill up with the knowledge of that
loving presence whose giving never ends, whose
goodness never stops. We thank you for the lives
of those we mourn today. We honor the women and
men who decided in life to donate their body
after death. Givers all to the very end, they
have allowed aspiring physicians to feel and to touch and to
witness the intricate design of the human body, so as to
help sustain the life of others. We also give thanks to
those who allowed the body of their loved one to
be given up in service of learning and understanding. Gratitude to fathers and
mothers, wives and husbands, uncles and aunts, brothers and
sisters, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews
and grandchildren and friends and partners. Affirm them all in their
step against the whispers of convention and grow
in them the conviction of having contributed
to a lasting legacy. Gracious sustainer, giver of
all life, grant us a wider view, eyes that are set on the eternal and the things that
will never die. Help us to recognize greatness
when we see it and use the act of giving of those we honor
today to be a model to us to become ever more giving
and forgiving and grateful. All this we pray as those who
bear your image and in gratitude for your love in this
life and the life to come. Amen. [ Music ]>>[Singing] Good night, my
angel, time to close your eyes. And save these questions
for another day. I think I know what
you’ve been asking me. I think you know what
I’ve been trying to say. I promised I would
never leave you, and you should always
know wherever you may go, no matter where you are,
I never will be far away. Good night, my angel,
now it’s time to sleep. And still so many
things I want to say. Remember all the
songs you sang for me when we went sailing
on an emerald bay. And like a boat out on the
ocean, I’m rocking you to sleep. The water’s dark and deep
inside this ancient heart, you’ll always be a part of me. [ Music ] Good night, my angel,
now it’s time to dream. And dream how wonderful
your life will be. Someday your child may cry,
and if you sing this lullaby, then in your hearts there
will always be a part of me. [ Music ] Someday we’ll all be gone
by lullabies on and on. We never die. That’s how you and I will be. [ Music ] [ Applause ]>>To the daughters, sons,
grandchildren, nieces, nephews, parents, friends and
other families here today, thank you for coming to
remember your loved ones and celebrate their
gift which continues to carry on their legacy. My name is Lilya and I am a
second-year medical student. Last year I sat in this
auditorium having never studied anatomy or having worked
with a donor before. The ceremony reminded me of our
privilege as medical students and as doctors and being part of our patient’s most
challenging moments. It also reminded me of our
responsibility to care for each of our patients as if they
were our own family members. Throughout the year, when
we had difficult dissections or exams weighing on our
minds, I remembered this day and the incredible
lives that each of our donors lived
before we knew them. Thank you all for being
here to honor them today. I want to share with you two
moments that resonated with me from last year and
reminded me of this service. The first was on our
first day of anatomy. Around this time last year
we were a month and a half into medical school when we went down to the labs
to meet our donors. I was nervous. I’d never studied
anatomy before. Being in the lab for the first
time was a strange experience. Between the donors, the anxious
medical students and the smell of formaldehyde, there
was little opportunity to distract myself. I thought about the donors
underneath the plastic sheets and I couldn’t help but think of my own experiences
with death and loss. When my team and I uncovered
our donor for the first time, it was his hands that
caught my attention. They were resting at his side,
relaxed, as if we were asleep. They reminded me of
my grandfather’s hands which I held in his
last moments. I thought about this
man’s family. He had grandchildren
somewhere too. I reached for his right hand but when my blue glove touched
his skin, I was surprised. His hands were cold, not
warm, and they were stiff like a statue frozen in time. They were not my
grandfather’s hands. I stood there for a while
holding his hand just to make sure it wouldn’t
squeeze back. Unlike with my grandfather,
I did not feel sadness. Instead I felt respect
and compassion. Looking back, this was the start
of my professional identity as a medical provider. It was the moment I realized
that my donor was there to help me learn and prepare
me for my future patients who will depend on me for care. And it was the first
time I thought back to this memorial service when I
shared a moment of remembrance with this man’s family. The second moment I want to tell
you about was towards the end of the year when we had
our musculoskeletal anatomy practical exam. For our exams, we had
stations to rotate between. Each station had a question
and a tagged item on a donor. The experience is
fairly stressful since there’s only a
minute at each station. The test was going well
until I reached station 12. I read the question,
looked at the tag and I couldn’t remember
the answer. The clock counted down, 29
seconds left, 28 seconds left. Which nerve was it? I didn’t know. I was so deep in thought that I didn’t realize my
face was only inches away from my donor’s body. I pulled back but
something caught my eye that I hadn’t noticed before. Peeking out from the
sheet was a hand. Normally I would have ignored
it, but this hand was different. Its fingernails, her
fingernails were painted purple. The timer was still ticking,
but for me time stopped. I looked from my nails to
hers and I wondered what that nail polish meant to her. Was purple her favorite color? Did she always have
her nails painted? The timer buzzed,
startling me and time was up. I moved on and I got
that question wrong, but that small moment of
human connection reminded me of why I came to medical school: to connect with and
to help patients. Sometimes in medical
school you lose the forest through the trees. But every once in a while you
have small moments of clarity such as this one
that push you along. I’m thankful not only
to my donor but to each and every donor that taught
me something this past year for these insights. With the development
of new technologies, medical education is changing. Many medical schools do not
offer donor dissections anymore in favor of virtual
reality sessions or simulated 3D applications. I think though that working with donors provides
many unique opportunities to medical students. First, it allows students
to confront their emotions about death and dying and to practice separating
their emotions from their work like I did on the first day. This is critical for us as
future physicians and surgeons, because in our careers we will
need to separate ourselves from our patients
enough to do our jobs, managing a delicate balance
of listening empathically and providing medical care. Second, working with donors
is a unique opportunity to see the body’s variation in
nerve placement or organ size from person to person that
just can’t be encapsulated by a diagram. Half of what makes anatomy
challenging is this variation from person to person. In the lab, we see our donors as
our first patients, and learning from our donors is
our first experience in navigating these
individual differences. And third, working with donors
develops our professionalism. In the anatomy lab, we practice
treating our donors with respect like we will treat all
of our patients with. Reflecting on my donor’s life
and his family helped me connect to my patients’ lives as well. Thank you again to
everyone who is here today to honor our donors’ invaluable
contributions to our learning and to our future patients. May they rest in peace. [ Applause ]>>Hello. My name is
Connor and I’m a D1. The anatomical donations program
is a gift like none other. It is a gift of knowledge
and curiosity and of passion and of love. Few donations in life have such
strong influence on the outcome of our wellbeing as a society. As a result of this program,
my peers and I have grown. Not just academically
but personally. We’ve been shown the beauty and
marvel that is the human body, instilling in us
respect, love and care for all of those around us. On the first day of dental
school, I wrote, “Nervous and anxious I sit here. I have never done
anything like this. I have just begun my first
day of dental school. I forgot my iClicker. I’m off to a great start.” As a result of this program,
I truly feel transformed. I feel as though I’m in the
right place at the University of Michigan, that my passion for
dentistry has become unshakable and that I am honored to be heading towards the
field of dental medicine. The anatomical donations
program is so impactful because it is a donation
that stands the test of time. It is a gift that I
will carry with me long into my career practicing
as a dentist. Helping not only me but
the thousands and thousands of patients that I and my
peers will eventually see. The selfless gift
to this program made by those honored here
today will be felt far and wide just beyond
the community here at the University of Michigan. Today I am not nervous
and I am not anxious. I stand here ready to
take on what comes next. To be a mentor to those who come
after me and to care for those who will come to me for help. Thank you to the donors for
helping me achieve that, and I promise to cultivate
this gift throughout my career. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>What does it mean
to transcend? To live beyond a
single moment in time, to exist beyond your personhood
and touch the lives of others. Good evening and thank you
all for being here today. My name is Lemi and I’m a
first-year medical student. I am humbled to be here,
to address the students, the faculty, the children,
the parents, the spouses and the loved ones who
are here with us today. I want to share my
deepest gratitude for the time you have
taken to be here and share in this collective
experience of reflection. When I first walked through
the halls of this school, some of the first
words I heard were, “Welcome to the Michigan
family.” In the few short months
that I’ve been here, I’ve witnessed the dedication
to upholding certain values. Values such as professionalism
where we strive to be the best representatives of the medical field
that we can be. Values such as compassion where
we connect with the side of all of us that makes us human. And values such as respect, where we recognize the
life lived of all those who we encounter and their
unique life experiences. There is an ingrained desire
to uphold these values with our patients
and each other. So I hope that you
will have confidence that we will treat your loved
ones with professionalism, compassion and respect
while they are here with us. Because as not only
our first patients but also our most
impactful teachers, they are every bit a part of
this family as any one of us. Starting from the
newest additions of a medical school class to
the most established physicians, we all rely on the generous
gift of donors to push knowledge and innovation forward, to
create an impact that will live for many years to come. We are part of an
imperfect healthcare system and the reaches of our scientific
knowledge are limited. However, when we can work
together, each providing a piece of the puzzle, we can use our
collective efforts to help those who have struggled
to find answers and receive adequate care. Through their gift, your loved
ones have committed themselves to the advancement of medical
knowledge, to make it better for those in future generations, a gift that we can
never repay them for. Now I would like to say a few
thank-you’s to our donors. Thank you for supporting
us on our journey to becoming physicians. Thank you for believing in us to
handle you with the utmost care. And thank you for
entrusting us to be the ones who will use the knowledge
we learned from you wisely and apply it to improving
the medical field. Yours is a gift that
is priceless. Yours is a gift that transcends. [ Applause ]>>Hi, everyone. My name is Jay Wong and
I’m a current first-year medical student. I wanted to start off by
saying thank you so much for giving me the distinct honor of speaking before
all of you tonight. To begin, I wanted to
tell you a little bit more about my background. So as a former linguistics
major turned molecular cellular developmental biology
major during undergrad, I couldn’t help but wonder
about the idea of words and the meanings behind them. Donor: one that gives,
donates or presents something. This is what Meriam-Webster
tells us is the denotation of the word donor. Likewise, Wikipedia
tells us that a donor in general is a person,
organization or government which donates something
voluntarily. So while Meriam-Webster and Wikipedia could potentially
be adequate first choices for understanding the
rudimentary meanings and concepts ascribed to a word,
they are in many ways stifled and limited by the very nature in which the words are
presented and logged to us. As reductive, often overly
simplistic representations of infinitely nuanced,
multilayered and at times poignant
ideas that fail to fully encapsulate the
contextual humanity, personhood and deeply meaningful stories
ensconced behind seemingly simple words like donor. So tonight I want us to
consider the shared reality that meanings are not
inherently embedded in words themselves
but in people. And these people, your loved
ones, are what give words like donor such an
immeasurably magnificent and noble disposition. It is in the glowing
autobiographies that your loved ones have
written for themselves that the final chapters
contain some of humankind’s greatest
aspirations and virtues than most of us can ever dream of reaching, let
alone achieving. And those are, among
many others, aspirations that sit atop the
pinnacle of human ability, such as absolute selflessness,
eternal magnanimity, and the self-motivated
inexorable pursuit towards the advancement and betterment of
both medicine and humankind. These are just a few of the
many characteristics evinced through your loved
ones’ gracious decision to become an anatomical donor. It is often conceived that
anatomy occupies a unique and a very particular point
in a medical student’s journey in that it serves as a nexus,
an academic lynchpin connecting and integrating conceptual
abstractions from lectures and textbooks with a face,
a body, a human life. This for many people humanizes
the experience and puts sterile, often all to impersonal and obtuse scientific knowledge
distilled from our classes into a more understandable,
applicable and proximate framework. And the process I believe
we as medical students come to appreciate a frequently
unspoken interpersonal dynamic of not only physicians being
educators of their patients, but patients being
physician’s most radiant and invaluable educators. Moreover, your loved
ones teach us that no two humans are the same. An artery, vein or nerve for example may run
slightly differently from one person to the next. Navigating through the
almost stellar constellation of landmarks scattered
throughout our bodies, the confluent and bifurcating
networks of veins and nerves and vasculature that
breathe life into all of us. And the anatomical roadmap and resplendent biological
architecture of structures laid out before us like
masterpieces of art that can only lend themselves
to exquisite veneration and awe. Our donors, your loved ones, teach us that underneath us
all we share a common thread in the very nature of our
existence that is enhanced and made only more beautiful
by our individual differences. Most of all, your loved
ones are humble reminders that while we may learn a
lot about the scientific and physical aspects
of our donors, we too have intellectual
limitations and that our insight into our donors’ lives is
wrought with mystery and a lack and absence of knowledge. We will never know our
donors’ life journeys, where they’ve been,
their personal struggles and challenges, their
greatest dreams. We won’t know their favorite
foods, TV shows or hobbies, what made them laugh,
what made them cry. How many times their
shoulders served as cushions for broken-hearted family
members or friends to cry on, or soft seats for
smiling, giggling children to climb up onto and ride on. How many hands they’ve held,
arms they’ve linked with, people they’ve embraced
and lives they touched. So I want to take a moment to acknowledge the
boundless stories and unquantifiable experiences
that each and every one of your loved ones have
carried with them into the space that we have been able to
share together, and recognize that embedded within their
gift is the cumulative totality of their incredible life
stories, unique experiences and spectacular journeys. Thank you again to all of
you and your loved ones for their extraordinary
kindness and contribution to medicine and to our world. Their generosity will be
in our hearts forever. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Good evening, everyone. My name is Vee and I am a
second-year medical student. I was here a year ago, so coming
again is truly full-circle. I’m going to share with you
a poem that I wrote as an M1, and reflection I have for
moving towards the second year in the clinical world. This poem is called A
Gift to Pay Forward. I held his hand for a moment and wondered what
these hands have built. Over a lifetime of
dreams and aspirations. My own mortality
crossed my mind. I looked at my own hand,
fragile though mobile. What will I build
with these hands, with the life I have left? I held his heart wondering
what secrets these four chambers hold. For whom did his heart
beat besides life itself? The strongest organ in the body
in the soft palms of my hands. I wondered about that last
heartbeat before the EKG flattens and deafening silence. Did he get the chance
to say goodbye? I held his brain and
wondered how many thoughts and emotions have passed
through these neurons, hopes, fears, joy, pain, love. Where did they all go? Three pounds do not
capture the full weight, a lifetime of memories,
beliefs, a whole worldview. In my hands. A mix of strong embalming fluid and my own emotions stung
and blurred my eyes. And I stood still for a moment. With deep appreciation
for a friend, my first patient and teacher. As an M2 reflecting
back on the past year, the anatomy course has been
truly a humbling experience. The science learning
objectives were very clear. The list of structures, know
the clinical significance. But there was also
a hidden curriculum in which the learning objectives
were not spelled out to us. Today, in honor of our
donors and families, I would like to speak
on the hidden lessons of humility and service. My donor’s one last request, of all the things he
could have asked for — a nice proper burial,
everlasting cremation or a grandeur memorial. He had chosen this, to donate
himself to my education as his last act of kindness. I wondered what was
going on through his mind when he committed to this
last act of kindness. Was he afraid? I deduced that he must
have been someone kind, who puts himself above others. I mean, sorry. Puts others above himself. Someone who valued education. Someone brave. Someone who lived a life
and even a death of service. To students, I invite you to
really soak in the sacredness of this opportunity to get to
know a person’s anatomy more than any patient you
will ever encounter in your life as a physician. My donor’s gift helped image my
understanding of the human body, enabling me to pay it forward to my future patients
for whom I will care. Approaching second year,
when I get to be on the wards with patients, I really
hope to make him proud. As our donors exhibited such selfless generosity towards
humanity, I invite each one of you to think about the
larger hidden curriculum that this experience entails. What does your patient’s
first gift mean to you? How can you best honor them as a medical student
and future physician? How generous will you be
with your time, knowledge and resources to serve others? As my friend Benjamin Share once
said, the magnitude of the gift that our donors have given
is not only to the hundreds of students in this room. It is to each and every
patient that we will see in our careers as physicians. A quick Google search
puts that number to about 40,000 patients
per doctor. So that will be more than 6
million patients together. And I imagine that each one
of us will find our own way to change the field of
medicine and the world at large. Finally, to all the families,
I offer my deepest appreciation and also sorrows for your loss. I really thank you for being
here today and for trusting us to respect and care
for your loved ones. Thank you very much. [ Applause ] [ Music ]>>[Singing] Amazing
grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am
found, was blind but now I see. ‘Twas grace that
taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that
grace appear the hour I first believed. Through many dangers, toils
and snares I have already come. ‘Twas grace that
brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home. When we’ve been there
10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less
days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun. [ Applause ]>>Good evening, everyone. My name is Nicholas Sapienza. I am a first-year student in
the physician assistant program at Eastern Michigan University. I’d like to thank you
all for coming here today to allow us students,
researchers and instructors to show our deep gratitude and
respect for your loved ones. Today is not a mourning of their
deaths but rather a testament to their kind and
generous nature. Our donors have imbued us
as students with knowledge, not to the benefit of themselves but to benefit many
future generations. Your loved ones have given
the ultimate gift to allow us to learn from their bodies. To help us to become
better healthcare providers so that one day we
may care for you. Apart from being
our first patients, our donors were also very much
some of our first instructors. They accompanies us on this
journey into graduate education and careers in the
healthcare field. Your loved ones afforded us
the opportunity to learn more from them and in an
immersive experience that no textbook
could ever provide. For many of us, this
is the first time that we had ever had an
interactive anatomy lab. Although there were a
mixed variety of emotions, from nervousness to excitement,
even fear of the unknown journey that had laid ahead of us, one
thing that was common in each and every one of us during
our journey and our time with our donors was respect. It was not lost on us, this extraordinary gift
that we’d been given. These were not just
anatomy models. These were grandparents,
fathers, mothers, husbands and wives, sisters and
brothers, aunts and uncles, and somebody’s best friend. Our donors had lives, careers, and they left behind
people who loved them. As we learned, as we studied,
as we held their hearts in our hands, the fact
that these were once living and breathing people
was not forgotten. These hearts we held once beat. These hearts were heard by loved
ones who laid on their chests. These hearts pumped the blood
that kept their arms warm. The same arms that once
held someone in fear, in happiness or in love. In short, we all
have great reverence for this irreplaceable gift
that we were given thanks to the selfless and generous
act of your beloved people. But today isn’t really about us. It’s about you, the
families, the friends. We are all just here in the hope that we can offer you some
amount of solace in the fact that your loved ones’
deaths were not in vain. Your loved ones continue to
impart new memories on us in death as students, just
as they did on you in life. In closing, I’d like to
leave you all with a quote from the novelist
Terry Pratchett. “No one is actually dead
until the ripples they cause in the world die away.” I can assure you all today that those ripples
are very much alive. Thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>Hi. My name is David Won and I’m a first-year
medical student. Thank you so much for being here
and for the gift of our donors. Tonight I’m going to
share a poem called The Zeigarnik Effect. The Zeigarnick effect suggests that people remember
uncompleted events better than completed ones. Day one in the lab, I walk up
to the ages, assigned sexes, associated illnesses, and when
I shuffle back to our donor to match up their
number, my team tells me that the list is
still from last year. And so I stand there staring at
our donor who we just uncovered and it feels all too unfinished. Like this wasn’t how
it was supposed to be, our first time meeting them. It wasn’t how I imagined it. We pulled their veil
back too suddenly and we didn’t say
anything before it started. And we didn’t pray our
own silent prayers, and we didn’t fully
prepare ourselves. Our donor’s info isn’t
even up yet and I’m looking at their closed eyes and
exposed chest and it’s like I just read the
last words of a novel with an abrupt ending. I’m flipping through all the
pages left intentionally blank and I’m left wanting
something else, something more. But I guess death is never
how it was supposed to be. It’s never how we imagine it. The temple veil gets pulled
in two and we never see all that we need to before
it happens. We don’t pray as
much as we want to. We can’t ever prepare
ourselves to see the end. Day two and day three in
the lab came last week, day four yesterday. Each time we cut, we create
wounds that will never heal. And yet every time I come
back I still expect scars. I’m waiting for some
kind of conclusion, for an instrumental
end to the song. But every dissected structure
only leads to more stanzas. For every new nerve, a new note. And all the chords are
dissonant with no resolution. But I guess that’s life, and life is never how
it’s supposed to be. It’s never how we imagine it. We get pulled into this world so
suddenly and we were never asked if we wanted to start living. And we didn’t know
how to pray at first. We didn’t know how to
prepare ourselves to begin. All of us gave up
a life to be here. We wrote a complete trilogy that didn’t make it
past the second book. When I left Seattle for here, I asked my best friend
Nathan, “How can I leave? You and I are not finished? We’re not done. We never went to the zoo. I didn’t get to go on a
water taxi or beat you at pool six times in
a row or sit alone at your apartment
while you’re at work and eat my free salad
from Sweet Greens.” And I know there will
be time in the future, but there will never
be a time like now. In the past nine weeks, Nathan and I have called
each other 265 times and it’s true, we
are not finished. I don’t know when we will be. Next week is day
five and I don’t know when I will feel
settled and complete. Maybe after tonight. Or maybe when anatomy is over, or when the donor has been
returned to their family. Or when first year is done. When I stop calling
Nathan four times a day. When we graduate, become
attendings, retire, die. Or maybe not. Because our lives, our
bodies, our donors, even in death are books
with multiple endings, songs that keep adding new
verses, movies with credits that continue forever. Our lives will always feel
incomplete and unfinished and imperfect because we
will never be finished. [ Applause ]>>Hi, everyone. My name is Ruth Bishop and I’m
a second-year medical student. And I just wanted to start by
just saying thank you very much for providing me
with this opportunity to speak to you all today. I feel an immense sense of
gratitude to the families of our donors for
their contributions to my medical education. So thank you. In the semi-autobiographical
novel The Things They Carried, author and Vietnam
veteran Tim O’Brien and his fellow soldiers kept the
dead alive by telling stories about them, using the photos
and other articles carried in their coat pockets as
reminders of the people and experiences most
essential to their lives. Tim O’Brien writes, “They
carried all they could bear and then some, including
a silent awe for the terrible power of
the things they carried.” Being in the health
profession forces us to contemplate the things
people carry quite often. When taking a social
history, we are trained to ask about our patient support
systems, substance abuse and occupation, all within
the span of 30 seconds. Do you really learn the things
making our patients whole and human? Do we truly know
the loss and love that they carry within
themselves? At last year’s donation
ceremony, one of the students reflected on how their anatomical donor
was their first patient. Having experienced anatomy lab
last year, I happen to disagree. To me, our donors were our
first and our best teachers. My donor provided
me with a window into the beautiful
complexity and intricacy of each muscle, tendon and bone. From her, I traced the path
of the wandering vagis nerve from her head to abdomen. I felt the tightness
of her cordae tendonae, her heartstrings, and was amazed at how these thin
fibers were strong enough to keep our heart valve shut. And reflecting further,
I realized that my donor in her silence taught me
that no amount of dissection of her miniscule parts of her
body would reveal her humanity. So much of who my donor was as a
person was still hidden from me. What sadness did she have? Hopes? Dreams? Who are the hands that she held
and the eyes she gazed into? What were the life moments
that pulled her heartstrings? With our stethoscopes we can
hear the crackling of lungs. With our CT scans and X-rays, we can diagnose cancers
and fractures. But only with our hearts, only with our hearts can we see
what is invisible to the eye. Only with our hearts can
we truly be good physicians and learn what our patients
carry within their hearts. My anatomical donor may not
have been my first patient, but the incomplete story
of her life gathered from intimately knowing her
body has been instrumental to the future care
I provide patients. To close, I want to recite one of my favorite E. E. Cummings
poems, I Carry Your Heart with Me; I Carry It In. I think it captures the
symbolism of the heart echoing as sentimentality so human. It seems as if Cummings
were talking about my own relationships. I hope Cummings’ words speak to
you and your loved ones now gone who you carry in your heart. I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. I’m never without it. Anywhere I go, you go, my dear. And whatever is done by only
me is your doing, my darling. I fear no fate, for you
are my fate, my sweet. I want no world, for beautiful
you are my world, my true. And it’s your whatever
a moon was always meant, and whatever sun will
always sing is you. Here is the deepest
secret nobody knows. Here is the root of the
root and the bud of the bud, and the sky of the sky,
of a tree called life. Which grows higher than soul
can hope or mind can hide. And this is the wonder that’s
keeping the stars apart. I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Hi, my name’s CJ Shellock and I’m a first-year
medical student. What is love? Love, especially love
for someone who has been in our lives for decades
is imprinted on our brains. Neuroplasticity is the
biological proof of that. Throughout our lives, our neurons organize
based on what we focus on. The more you think about
someone or something, the more neurons are recruited
to that part of your brain. And if it were possible to put
this on a slide and look at it under a microscope, we
would actually see more and more cells lined up
creating a more worn road easier for chemical signals
to zip along. My grandmother passed
away one month ago. She is no longer here, but
when I think about her, the neuronal pathways
in my brain light up. I imagine myself at night
standing next to a highway, watching lights on
successive lampposts blink, snaking off into the distance. Each time I fire neurons
associated with memories of her, the lampposts are brighter,
the connections reinforced, the love for her stronger. In a way, this is
proof that she existed. I think of her laugh
and the pattern of her skirted bathing
suits, the way her wrist bend like a crooked tree branch,
the result of a fracture which a physician
certainly had the intention of properly setting but couldn’t
because she skipped clinic after cheerfully
diagnosing herself as fine. [ Laughter ] I also remember the last
agonizing year of her life when she battled
severe Alzheimer’s. When it felt like
she only ever looked through me, but never saw me. Some parts I want to remember
less, but the geography of my neurons is laid down. The lampposts on the highway
burn, illuminating the life. What is love? Everyone here has lamppost-lined
highways inside of them that are associated with
people we have lost. Our donors have their own
highways inside of them, worn down by the parts
of life they loved and thought about the most. Cells line up to tell stories
of the mundane and the precious. But the neuronal map of my donor
also contains something else. Something that has
to do with me. I or the idea of me is
somewhere in their map. It is difficult for me to
imagine a greater act of love than wanting to give something to a person you will
never meet or know. And yet months ago,
my donor did this without even knowing who I was. When I look at my
donor now, I feel love. I see all the parts of me
inside of this other person. I see my grandmother. Sometimes I imagine
death as a doorway at the end of a long road. Many will enter before
me and may after me. My donor is just
a little farther down that road than I am. Until I walk through
this doorway, I will try to become the best
person and physician I can be. When I graduate from
medical school in four years, it will be because
I was never alone. It will be because I
was surrounded by people who were willing to give
parts of themselves to me. And to my donor I
want to say thank you. Thank you for teaching me and
playing a role in the outcome of my future patients. Most of all, thank you
for being a part of me. [ Applause ]>>Good evening, families,
faculty, staff and students. My name is Andrew Barnoski
and it’s my distinct privilege to serve as an attending
physician at the University of Michigan Medical Center and
as the director of the division of anatomical sciences
in our medical school. On behalf of the anatomy
faculty that I’m very honored to teach with, we wish to
extend our sincere appreciation to all family members
and close friends of our anatomical donors — truly our students’
first patients — for your participation in
this memorial service tonight and for your commitment
to the education and professional development of both our health
profession students and biomedical sciences
students. We sincerely thank
you for attending. Our desire this evening
has been to honor those who as a final act of generosity
in their lives have given of themselves for the
education of our students. While unfortunately we cannot
extend our appreciation to these individuals
directly, we know that many of you are their spouses, their
siblings, children, parents, friends or other relatives. And we extend our appreciation
to them through you. Our donors are profound and
inspiring teachers to all of us. They have offered us, both
faculty and students alike, an experience like none other
in health sciences education. We are humbled by their decision
to give us this privilege, and the heightened sense of both
duty and gratitude they impart on us today and in our futures. Regardless of where
our careers take us in the health professions
and clinical research, the concern for and care
of patients is central and always involves
both technical and moral considerations. All of us at some point
will become patients, and the expectation
arises in each of us that our healthcare
professionals will bring competency and compassion into
the therapeutic relationship from beginning to end. Our anatomical donors are an
integral part of the beginning of this educational
journey for our learners. It is through them that we
gain insight, respect and awe for our uniqueness
as human beings. And we deepen our appreciation
of the beautiful complexities of human form and function. It is through them that we
begin to climb a learning curve of knowledge, skills and
attitude of human life and humanism and compassion
which will impact us for the length of our
professional lives. It is through them that we
deepen our respect for life in all forms and
widen our appreciation of the privilege of
caring for others. And while it is unfortunate that
we will not have the privilege of appreciating the depth of
their qualities of personhood in life, we honor
and respect them by passionately accepting
the gift of learning they have
given us to care for others in our professional lives. And being properly
prepared in study to take from them all they
have to give us. Our students graduate from
professional and graduate school with significant insight into
the ethical and moral duties of healthcare providers and
researchers to those they serve. In the many discussions
and readings which are part of their education,
it is stressed that the ethical
obligations which we accept as professionals
are an outgrowth of the relationships
we enter into. Whether such relationships
are with patients, faculty, students, each other,
or the public at large, virtues in medicine
form a dominant part of those discussions in school. It is very much true that there’s a professional
relationship between our students and our
anatomical donors as well. As noted before, our donors
are often referred to as “first patients” by our
students and certainly as some of their most significant
teachers. We speak often in our
ethics discussions of social justice in healthcare. And justice discussions often
gravitate towards what is known as intergenerational
solidarity in healthcare. This term intergenerational
solidarity is a long word but really a simple concept. On the one hand, the term simply
implies what each generation owes to the other, the young to
the old, the old to the young. But a more significant
meaning relating to those we are honoring
here tonight is the concept of what present generations
owe to future generations. Those who are young who will
one day be old and infirm, and those who are well who
will one day become ill. Those whose existence has
not yet even been thought of. In order to provide care for
this next generation of people, it is ethically incumbent
upon us today to train the next generation
of caregivers and researchers, our students with us tonight. And it is our anatomical
donors who make the beginning of this journey possible. We could not do it without them. We owe an incalculable debt of
appreciation to all of them. So thank you for joining us. And should you have a question
or wish to speak to any of our faculty or staff
following the conclusion of the program this evening,
you will recognize all of us by our wearing of a yellow rose. We would be honored
to visit with you. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>In closing, I would
like to invite each of you into the lobby for light
refreshments and conversation. I would also like to mention
that if anybody is interested in a memorial plaque to
be placed at the cemetery, that there will be
representative in the lobby on the left-hand
side as you exit. This does conclude our
services this evening. We thank you for attending. Please drive home safely. Thank you. [ Applause ]

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