Sunday, August 16, 2009

St. Mary's Hospital Display of Pathology

There is a display at the Seoul St. Mary's Catholic Hospital of all the things that can go wrong with our bodies. It is a display of visual aids to body parts. It will continue until the 22nd of August. There are about 100 diseased specimens of body parts taken from victims of accidents and disease: different kinds of cancers, hearts, livers , bones, gall bladders and vocal chords. Those who attend the display can see different problems with the heart, lungs polluted with nicotine, gall bladder problems, the fetus outside of the womb etc.

There are about 400 to 500 that have been attending the display daily. They are able to touch the body parts, examine them and hear explanations by experts. The chance to examine bodily organs is rather rare; this is the first time in Korea that it has been opened to the public.

These organs have been taken from cadavers that have been donated to the hospital and permission given for use. Usually the means of preserving the body parts uses formaldehyde but because of the toxicity of the formaldehyde solution this method was not considered possible. But with synthetic resins and plastics using a process of plastination it was doable. "Plastination is a technique used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts. The water and fat are replaced by certain plastics, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most properties of the original sample."

The results of the display so far have been very rewarding. Those who have attended have seen with their eyes what can go wrong with our health and those who have attended have been motivated to take better care of their health and take preventive measures to insure this in their lives.

The Medical System in Korea seems to this foreigner to be doing well. I do not know what the studies w0uld indicate but there seems to be a very high standard of proficiency. They are open to receiving new information, medical practices and equipment from other parts of the world. Many of the doctors have degrees from western universities and keep up with the latest with their affiliation with other hospitals here and overseas.


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