• Sweden edition
 
Swedish med students perform prof's autopsy

Swedish med students perform prof's autopsy

Published: 17 Dec 2010 13:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Dec 2010 13:02 GMT+01:00

According to the course coordinators, the incident was "extremely unfortunate," but they assert that the name of the body is always communicated in advance of each autopsy.

A medical student's first autopsy tends to be an intense and trying experience in itself. The revelation that the body was their former instructor made the occasion all the more difficult.

"I was super-shocked," one of the students told the TT news agency about his reaction when he saw the body on the bench.

None of the students spoke up when the autopsy technician got to work. However, several testified that the mood was tense and they began whispering to each other. They then tried to concentrate on the task at hand.

"The first autopsy is very emotional and we autopsied someone we knew," another student told TT.

Several students admitted that they have thought a lot about the incident afterward and wonder whether it was really proper for them to have been exposed to such a situation.

"I spontaneously feel that something fell through the cracks in the procedures," one student confessed.

Professor Birgitta Sundelin, the chief physician who was responsible for the course at the time, regrets the incident.

"It was extremely unfortunate. This is the first time I have encountered something like this," she said.

She said that it is routine to tell the class the name of the person to be autopsied ahead of time and that the school did so in this case. However, according to the students, they did not see the name until they could read it from the corpse's toe tag.

In addition, no one at KI had informed the hospital that the students would possibly be offended by the subject whose autopsy they going to perform.

Professor Tina Dalianis, the head of the department, has been informed of the incident. She said she sympathises with the students and that the incident must have been extremely difficult for them, but she does not think that the school has done anything wrong.

"It is really terrible, but it is part of education sometimes. Unfortunately, they must deal with it," she said.

The president of Sweden's Medical Students Association (Medicine Studerandes Förbund, MSF) was outraged by the school's response.

"Very unfortunate. Students should not have to feel uneasy during their education," said Maria Ehlin Kolk, who is also a medical student at Umeå University.

"It is important that an autopsy truly be the educational opportunity that it should be. The question is how much these students learned from the situation," she added.

Kolk thinks it sounds like KI need to tighten up its procedures and tell students in advance that they have the right to speak up if they know the person on the autopsy table.

"All universities should work out such procedures and documents," she said.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:34 December 17, 2010 by Streja
Karolinska typo twice in this piece.

Horrible story!
13:40 December 17, 2010 by JulieLou40
I agree. Horrible story, and the usual shoddy spelling/grammar from The Local. But hang on a minute...did none of these students have the ability to speak? To say "Hang on...we know this man! We don't feel comfortable with this". But no. Nobody spoke out. Typical Swedish sheep. Too afraid to speak out in public, so they went ahead with what must have been a stomach churning task made worse by the fact they knew him.

Bet they wish they'd opened their mouths now.
13:50 December 17, 2010 by Tusker
Forget the negative implications of this incident.

They should be honoured to have been chosen to participate in the final act of giving, by a true teacher, who even in death, gave of themself in the role of healer.
13:53 December 17, 2010 by Shibumi
Agree with JulieLou here... if you "wonder if it is proper to be exposed to such a situation" then speak up for pete's sake! What if it turned out to be your own dad on the autopsy table? Would you speak out then? C'mon! Take some responsibility for your life instead of passively submitting to whatever happens and then "wonder" about it later!
14:14 December 17, 2010 by hjoian
a certain amount of emotional detatchment is needed in a job like this, good practice i say. Future doctors do not have the choice to pick and choose their patients, so this is a good trail for the students involved.....glad to see they got on with the job in hand.
14:15 December 17, 2010 by Strongbow
Stop writing every sentence in its own paragraph.
15:10 December 17, 2010 by foxpur
@hjibumi

It is not unusual that a autopsy subject will be known by the initial doctor performing the autopsy, it is ALSO common the doctor is offered to have another doctor take their place because of emotional reaction. A doctor in California I knew was given his brother-in-law as a subject and they asked him to step out as policy.
15:11 December 17, 2010 by thebittertruth
what do you expect from Skroog's country?
16:29 December 17, 2010 by mojofat
Surprise! You're on candid camera!
16:49 December 17, 2010 by Nemesis
Gives a teaching practical, a whole new meaning.
16:59 December 17, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
@julijou40

" Typical Swedish sheep. Too afraid to speak out in public, so they went ahead with what must have been a stomach churning task made worse by the fact they knew him. Bet they wish they'd opened their mouths now."

Does that remind you of latest events, JA and 2 one-nights.

suffer/enjoy now complain later.

I feel for the students and i hope they learnt at all in their first lecture
17:30 December 17, 2010 by Streja
I meant horrible for the students, not horrible article.....

Bah!
18:44 December 17, 2010 by MarkinBoston
So if an automobile accident victim comes into the hospital and they know the person, will they be paralyzed with... discomfort? What's the problem? Once you're dead, you're meat. Doctors need to be able to dissociate themselves from emotional discomfort when OTHER people are panicing. This was a good lesson for them - toughen up.
21:49 December 17, 2010 by zooeden
for once you´re right Mark...
03:11 December 18, 2010 by Yimp
By "autopsy", does this mean that the med students were simply doing a post-mortem exam, a one-time experience?

In med school in the US, we spend 6 months with one cadaver that we thoroughly dissect. Sounds like it's done differently in Sweden.

I was told the age and cause of death of my cadaver, but I never knew their name.
21:29 December 18, 2010 by dtes
i wonder what makes swedes so damn sheepish, i really dont understand, its almost to a point of retardation.
06:14 December 19, 2010 by OgieMorten
What the heck was that? I dont want to watch someone I knew be autopsied, I'll be sick to death watching it. So Horrible.

http://livinginthesun.info/portugal/
13:35 December 20, 2010 by scientist22
Yimp, what you are referring to is the dissection during gross anatomy. What the article refers to is a coroner's inquest (autopsy)
23:17 December 20, 2010 by Da Goat
This article and what happened is completely wrong in it's sentiment

the students should be honoured to be there for their teacher (what dedication by the teacher to even teach his students after death)!

this is the best possible outcome as the students if they ever have to perform a post mortem in future there will be a huge chance that it will be one of their own patients, who they know even better than their teacher maybe!

grow some balls medicos.

it should not matter if the person is alive or gone they should treat them just the same !

maybe the students are not cut out for the job and need to find something else to do, maybe the names of the students needs to be published so we don't go to them in the future. could they be inept in their professionalism!

haveing to do an honourable service for their teacher should be the best thing they could hope to do! would teach them to care for people dead or alive!
13:40 January 5, 2011 by ffeingo2
A final giving gesture by a dedicated teacher with a sense of humor. I think it grand. My leftovers are to be sent to our medical school.
Today's headlines
Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe
The ship was rescued on Thursday. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe

After fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil could sink in Stockholm's archipelago, Sweden's Coast Guard said the vessel had been towed to safety. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Sweden's Foreign Minister is Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Interview
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
For ten days, Globen is transformed into a giant pumpkin. Photo: Shockholm

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween

American Bill Schacht missed the spooky outfits, family feasts and charity events he associated with Halloween when he moved to Sweden. So he did something about it. The Local meets the founder of the capital's annual Shockholm parade. READ  

Business & Money
Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall
A Vattenfall plant in Germany. Photo: TT

Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported losses for the third quarter in a row. READ  

International
Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza
Malala receives the Children's Prize from Queen Silvia. Photo: TT

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza

UPDATED: Girls' rights champion Malala Yousafzai, who was in Sweden to accept the World's Children's Prize on Wednesday, said she would use all her winnings to help rebuild schools in war-ravaged Gaza. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

994
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN