|12/14/2013 7:30:00 AM|
Life from death-Students get closeup look at organ donation process
By Margaret Richman
|Attentive, respectful and serious were some of the words to describe the Chilton High School students who recently traveled to the University of Wisconsin-Washington County in West Bend to view procedures on a cadaver and to learn more about organ donation and donating one’s body to science. |
|Margaret Richman photos|
"Yes I will donate" is the campaign motto adopted by the Wisconsin Donor Registry.
Dottie the orange dot is on the license of those wishing to donate. Dottie would like you to sign the back of your license as well and register at YesIWillWisconsin.com if your license was issued before 2011.
Forty-five Chilton High School Seniors enrolled in the advanced course of Human Anatomy and Physiology recently discussed the need for organ donation. Their thoughts were provoked by a field trip to the University of Wisconsin-Washington County to enrich their education by learning from a cadaver.
Donating your body to science is a different mindset and process than organ and tissue donation. But the students, many interested in pursuing a degree in a medical field, recognize the value of both-the need for cadavers for education and research and organ donation for giving the ultimate gift to another human, both gestures of humanitarianism.
Of the 44 students on the field trip, 33 committed to organ donation when they first obtained their driver's license. Wisconsin law states that a person of 15½ years of age may be a registered donor; however, up until the age of 18 a parent can overrule their wishes.
Six students reported knowing a person who had received an organ or tissue transplant although the group's impetus for becoming registered donors was more generalized. During travels to the UW-Washington lab, the group of 33 committed donors blurted out their incentives with an air of nonchalance. "I'll be dead; I'll have no more use for the tissue. I don't need the organ anymore."
Insouciance was replaced with introspection following the trip.
Wayne Schaefer, PhD, professor of biological sciences at UW-Washington, and his team of students provided the educational session for the CHS class. Schaefer explained body donation and the necessity of the practice for the advancement of medicine. "Despite popular thinking, persons donate their body to science for a reason. These are not unclaimed bodies left dead on the street. Most people want you to learn something from them. We need the cadavers to teach us about life and to better the human existence. How the body is organized is a miraculous thing and I hope you learn something about your own body today," Schaefer said.
The students gathered around as the professor methodically brought out of books and into reality the inner workings of the human body. Focused were their minds, pensive their faces, and serious their disposition. Maturity was beyond admirable.
CHS biology teacher Brittany Mayer said, "Our class is a five credit college class through Silver Lake College so we follow their curriculum. In class we perform dissections with cow, swine and deer covering hearts, lungs, kidneys, eyes, and more but I wanted the students to experience a cadaver because we are a college level class. Most have expressed an interest in the medical field and this is a very enriching experience."
Following the field trip, a more contemplative mood prevailed. Organ donation was again discussed. Two students said they would consider donating their bodies to science. No one changed their mind about organ donation-the 33 were still committed.
Jolene Hostettler and Celine Diederick said they felt passionate about wanting to save lives and wanted others to benefit from them. Paige Mikalowsky provided a powerful closure on the organ and tissue donation discussion, saying, "I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. Whether dead or alive, I can."
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