A Need to Protect the Health and Rights of Anatomists Working in Dissection Laboratories

Joshua Owolabi, Ahmad A Tijani, Amadi O Ihunwo

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Anatomy in the context of medical or health science often requires dissection. Anatomical dissection is the purposeful and procedural exploration of the human tissues and organs by physically cutting through defined body planes, regions, and organs to access, define and explore the structures in a manner that facilitates learning. Anatomical dissection is a basic requirement for anatomical and medical education. It is a requirement in certain other fields of health sciences as well. Unfortunately, in many instances, the prosector and dissector in the anatomy laboratories are not considered for the hazards to which they are exposed whether in their health plans or remuneration package. Dissectors, unlike conventional hospital laboratory workers are often considered routine workers or teaching assistants. This is the case, for example, in many African medical institutions. Administrators possibly presume that hazards are only associated with service laboratories in the hospital or teaching hospital departments. It would therefore serve the purpose of advocacy, education, and orientation to highlight the hazards that these individuals who serve as dissectors, prosectors and laboratory staff members are exposed to. This commentary highlights the nature and sources of risks that anatomists who dissect, prosect and work in anatomical laboratories are exposed to. It also highlights how the rights and health of anatomists who dissect can be protected with specific recommendations. Hence, the recommendations speak to policies and practices that are required to serve this purpose. After highlighting the major risks that anatomists who dissect might face, and the major causes of the risks, we wish to propose ways by which these could be addressed based on these key considerations: protect, prevent, and compensate. This is what we have also termed the PPC principle for protecting the health and professional rights of anatomists who dissect and work in anatomical laboratories.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalRisk Management and Healthcare Policy
StatePublished - 2022


  • anatomy
  • cadaver
  • dissection
  • education
  • health
  • laboratory
  • right
  • risks


  • Medicine and Health Sciences

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