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Preparations in the anatomy lab: 

“Fix for life©” cadavers and fancy microscopes

Published onNov 14, 2023
Preparations in the anatomy lab: 

AUDIOGUIDE

Once the lecture is over, the first approach that has been described by the lecturer will be practised: a dissection on “prepared bodies.” The hall of the anatomy lab is full of life suddenly, many young bodies wrapping themselves in blue plastic, taking place around ten corpses wrapped in green fabric. The faces of the students are hidden by masks, but that of the deceased are visible. The context of the anatomy institute makes the apparition of the dead feels strangely normal. What I first take to be cadavers are actually a high-tech artefact.

“The product to fix the bodies is called “Fix for life©” says my colleague, the medical illustrator Lucius Fekonja, with a sardonic smile: “It’s obviously ironic.” The body outside and their insides do have a discrepancy of aliveness. The bodies, however, nevertheless retain a part of their personhood as PW asks them kindly to treat them like human bodies—besides the fact that they are very valuable and expensive specimens.

There are a few problems at the start “The organizers haven’t been working in the OR for a while,” remarks the professor Vajkoczy, who is visibly irritated that the research team leading this experimental training forgot to supply the instruments to operate with. The instruments are quickly brought in from the ORs from the next building.

The many neurosurgical microscopes in the room are all from one same famous brand. Where did they get so many of them? My question is answered immediately as a lady complimenting my drawings and seemingly not taking part in the anatomical feast introduces herself as a representative of that same company. “Yes, the microscopes are from me,” she says, “if it’s for the training, of course, we are happy to help” she says with a tongue-in-cheek yet straightforward and spotless commercial tone, along with a friendly wink.

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