Dear Rabbi and Susan,
This year I became a med student. Therefore, with anatomy lessons I go to the morgue. It’s a great way to learn, however, I can’t help but feel rather uncomfortable.
That got me thinking – Is it an appropriate way to learn?
God bless you.
With kind regards,
First of all, congratulations on getting into medical school. That is quite an accomplishment.
As you go through school and residency and embark on a medical career, you are going to be called upon to do many things that will make you uncomfortable. Not only will you dissect cadavers but, among other things, you will be cutting into living people and be exposed to intimate and hidden parts of people’s bodies. You will be surrounded by people in deep emotional trauma. You will sometimes make mistakes that have the most serious consequences as well as blessedly do just the right thing at the right time with amazing results.
In order to be effective, it can be helpful to remember that you are in the process of fulfilling your God-given mission to heal. “…I am the Lord your Healer” (Exodus 15:26) Just as He heals us, so should we emulate Him and also become healers. You know that you will need to learn to act professionally and overcome your feelings. That doesn’t mean to cauterize your feelings but it means to control them. The danger is that you can do that so well that you end up slightly dehumanizing yourself in order to do what needs to be done.