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Cadavers in the ballroom: Drs practice their craft in America’s favorite hotels (reuters.com)
38 points by gadders on Dec 22, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments



You know you are in a regulation bubble when the caution and judgement of the most highly trained professionals in our society is reflexively concluded to be inadequate and inferior to that of bureaucrats even when said professionals are working on the DEAD, whom they have no chance of harming.

The regulation fetish has become a form of magical thinking. In the thinking of the regulation fetishist, the lack of explicit permission from authority is in and of itself dangerous, but the danger could be easily neutralized by a talismanic permit!

The fact that these professionals have already adhered to countless existing regulations and have been trained to safely deal with bodily fluids and infection risk is immaterial to the regulation fetishist. The government has not explicitly granted permission for this exact activity. In this mindset anything that is not enumerated as an allowed activity is dangerous and should be forbidden.


If they follow all medical waste and blood born pathegons procedures, then what does it matter?

Continuing education of medical practitioners is incredibley valuable to society.


Sounds like it is unregulated and they aren't following procedures consistently.

> And at the Disney lab last month, coffee and tea were available near one cadaver station. After a Reuters reporter asked if this were allowed, the refreshments were removed from the room.


Agreed. It sounds gnarly, but I would rather they test and practice with cadavers rather than live humans. This is all so they can perform better as doctors...


There's a chapter on this in Mary Roach's book Stiff[1]. The book was published in 2003, so this has been going on for a long time.

1 - https://www.amazon.com/Stiff-Curious-Lives-Human-Cadavers/dp...


This book is great and I thought really respectful and interesting given the subject matter.


Funnily enough, I have a friend who organized these exact events. He said many doctors combined these events with vacations - take the family to a resort for a week, spend half the day with them, the other half working towards their continuing education requirements.


While this practice is probably not good, the article is definitely witch hunting. Why does the author call out a bunch of hotel brands (Its now Hilton's job to regulate doctors?). Continuously using the term "body broker"... Come on reuters. These are doctors practicing procedures in potentially unsafe ways, why are you dragging all this irrelevant shit into it?


The one question I had that doesn't seem to be covered is whether the bodies are embalmed or preserved beyond refrigeration. I read a couple of the other chapters and it seemed as though the spine & heads they bought were just refrigerated, but aren't gross anatomy specimens used for several months and are embalmed or preserved in some way?


Gross anatomy specimens like used to teach med students are definitely preserved. That's basically a requirement when you're going to use the same body through-out a course that takes 6 months to a year.

I don't have any specific experience with these sorts of cadaver labs, but I can tell you that preserved flesh looks and responds quite a bit differently than live tissue. Especially if you're trying to teach surgical techniques, I can see the benefit of using a cadaver that hasn't been chemically preserved.


While I'm certain it sounds bad to the people who would find this icky, there is zero in this article about the risk.

Yes, the word "risk" is used. But the Osterholm quote is not a medical risk analysis. To decide what, if anything, should be done differently, it is necessary to both quantify the risk, and decide what level of risk the public finds tolerable for convention centers.

I would be surprised if the risk of infectious disease from cadavers in the convention center is as high as the risk of infectious disease when the convention center is packed to capacity with germ-carrying people there to watch power point presentations.


Germ carrying people have functioning immune systems. Cadavers do not. They are just laying there rotting, like a giant Petri dish with no lid in which a mix of multiple unnamed microbes have been bred and are now running wild.


This is incorrect, they are heavily preserved.


It isn't like that had not occurred to me.

But Superbugs keep adapting to antibiotics etc. I am skeptical of the idea that dunking dead bodies in chemicals is anywhere near as effective as a living immune system.

Living microbes seem to adapt if all they are faced with is poison of some sort. In fact, petrochemical spills can be remediated with an injection of microbes that eat petrochemicals.


If we don't know the risk of something, especially if there is the possibility of serious illness, then we should stop doing it until we do know the risk. After all, it's not like convention centers are the only place where these things can be held. Imagine the headlines: "Disney tourists contract _______ because doctors did not know the risks of bringing dead bodies into convention center"


I don't see what the issue is as long as proper medical procedures are followed. This article seems like it's hunting for outrage.


You obviously didn't read the article. First, "proper medical procedures" aren't followed - they provide food and drink near areas where human tissue may be flying about, presenting incredible risk of transmission of disease. Second, it's impossible to properly clean up hotel ballroom spaces from blood borne pathogens compared to labs available in teaching hospitals. Carpets and other textiles have no place in a lab.


> they provide food and drink near areas where human tissue may be flying about, presenting incredible risk of transmission of disease

Well, if the physicians & surgeons consuming the food & drink don't care, why should we? Presumably they are educated and trained enough to consider the risks.

> Second, it's impossible to properly clean up hotel ballroom spaces from blood borne pathogens compared to labs available in teaching hospitals.

I imagine that it's the teaching hospitals who sponsored this report — it's in their interest to see this kind of thing banned, because then they'd have a monopoly on cadaver labs.


> Well, if the physicians & surgeons consuming the food & drink don't care, why should we? Presumably they are educated and trained enough to consider the risks.

Physicians have some of the worst hand washing hygiene in hospitals. Not sure I'll take advice on sanitation from them: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/doctors-hand-hygiene-plummets-w...


Can you imagine your toddler crawling on the carpet the next day because a birthday party was hosted in the same ball room?


Presumably they'd pull up the plastic sheets covering the carpet prior to the next party.


Literally the first paragraph of the article describes a body leaking through what it's wrapped in.


Plastic sheets can be punctured.


yes but this practice is also as weird as you might think it is




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