New Mexico University suffers shortage of donated cadavers

March 5, 2022 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Fewer people in New Mexico are donating their bodies to science when they die, making training harder for medical students preparing for their careers.

The University of New Mexico Anatomy Lab said Friday that it needs about 75 donated cadavers each year to train future doctors, but currently only has 18.

Amy Rosenbaum, director of the university’s anatomical donations program, says medical students missed out on working with real cadavers during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic when all teaching was virtual.

“Seeing it in 3-D and in person is the best way to teach,” she said.

The pandemic also has affected donations with mortuaries overwhelmed handling deaths and staffing problems, she said. Previously the university program accepted donations from across the state but now can only pickup cadavers within a 60-mile (96-kilometer) radius because of transportation issues.

Anatomy instructors may soon have to improvise when teaching students, said Rosenbaum.

“We’ve gone so far as to say maybe Group A can dissect one side of the body and Group B can dissect the other,” she said.