By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
My heart was moved by the great sacrifices of two very generous teachers.
They are lying quietly on the surgical beds, to be operated upon by medical students. The cuts that the students make could be right, but could also be wrong.
It doesn't matter whether the students have made the right cuts, as the teachers would accept in resignation anyway.
This is part of the learning process. Most importantly when these students graduate and operate on live patients in the future, not even the slightest mistakes will be made.
They will rather allow the students to make ten wrong cuts today than a single wrong incision in the future.
The first two body donors in Malaysia, they have hoped to use their own bodies to train future doctors of this beloved country of theirs.
Cancers took away their lives, but could do nothing to subdue their great spirit. On their death beds, they pledged to donate their bodies to Universiti Hospital for the medical students to dissect. They also allowed parts of their body tissues to be used for research purposes.
Real human body dissection remains irreplaceable in anatomical studies. Not even the state-of-the-art imaging techniques and artificial props that come with breakneck advances in medical technology could familiarise medical students with the use of surgical tools and observation of pathological changes in human bodies.
It would be very difficult for medical students to overcome the confines of their knowledge and psychological thresholds in the absence of such hands-on experience.
That said, sources of cadavers are very limited, especially in our conservative Oriental society which treats death with utter phobia and taboo, which in turn affects the attitude with which people handle their posthumous dealings.
Donating their own dead bodies for research purposes is not anything most people are willing to undertake. It has to be built upon the right cognition of death and positive acceptance of the arrangements made to their dead bodies.
The gracious acts of these two magnanimous teachers have allowed their lives to be magnified many times over in significance, leaving an all-important leagcy for the world that they have walked.
The consent of their families is equally venerable.
I was thinking, when these students' surgical blades are laid upon their bodies, what they are about to learn is more than just anatomical knowledge, but a noble mission.
When they deal with their patients in the future, they should understand the duties of a doctor better, and treat the feelings of their patients with due respect.
As for the rest of people, they will have to learn to look at life from a different perspective.