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COMP-Northwest to hold Donor-Cadaver-Patient memorial service

by Rodney Tanaka

March 12, 2013

Read 2 mins

COMP-Northwest students will hold a Donor-Cadaver-Patient memorial service honoring 23 people whose ultimate gift contributed to their medical education.

The memorial service, which is open to the public, will take place at noon Monday, March 18, 2013 on campus in the Szeto Lecture Hall, 200 Mullins Drive, Lebanon, Oregon 97355.

“We want to provide our donors with a respectful service,” said Brion Benninger, MD, MSc, COMP-Northwest professor of medical anatomy. “It’s important to have a memorial service, first and foremost, for the people who have gifted their bodies to better mankind. This ceremony is equally important to students, faculty, and those who have worked with these invaluable donations. These donors have provided the ultimate gift, and the service will provide closure for all of those who have been privileged to benefit from their generosity.”

Folded flags will be presented during the ceremony to honor those donors who served in the military. The COMP-Northwest Choir, made up of staff and students, will sing a selection of songs. Students will offer reflections and gratitude.

“A donor-cadaver-patient provides anatomy lessons that textbooks cannot,” Benninger said. “Textbooks are written with a view of averages – “this vessel on average will lie left of this nerve.” But average is a collection of numbers, and there is no such thing as an average individual.

“During dissection, one truly learns the real anatomy,” Benninger added. “All of us have slight variations to us. Dissection allows for this appreciation, and provides the orientation of the body’s architecture. When one locates the pancreas and actually sees what’s sitting on top of it, it’s a memory that will never fade, which is critical for the training physician.”

For more information about the Willed Body Program, visit

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