It was H.G.Wells who suggested that human cadaver must be put to better use. He suggested that cadavers be send to medical schools for study and not be interned or cremated.
Well this will be frowned upon by the ultra right wing of the religious zealots, of who we have in plenty. The Islamic didactic edicts mandates that a dead body be interned within twenty four hours of death occurring. And sentiments in other faiths too may frown upon such idea. Immediate family would cry plaint and in horror of such a prospect. How could the cadaver of a son, father, mother or someone near and dear be mutilated and dissected on the dissecting table in some nondescript medical laboratory? Outrageous and bizarre!
I have often thought of the matter, and also the subject of donating ones medically fit organs after death. There is this very good friend of mine who suggested that he may want to donate one of his kidneys right away. His contention was that one can survive well with a solitary kidney. I, predominantly and other fellows in tow pulled down his suggestion as quixotic and unnecessary. If honourable service is the idea, well there are as many that one can think of and exercise. By the same yardstick can one forego an eye? Well I guess he saw the point of my argument. We have not heard from him on this since.
Coming to the point of bequeathing one’s body after death to a medical school for research- has enormous potential benefits for medical science and future generations. It not only letting science identify and document the reason for death, it will also dwell into the many inexplicable and sudden demises, unknown facets of physiology etc. Why does a healthy man, for instance fall dead with a massive cardiac arrest- while his routine medical checkup gave a perfect ten? Winston Churchill smoked cigars like as if it was a matter of religion, I suppose. He enjoyed ample dose of High Land Scotch too. A perfect combination for early disaster! But he lived well into his eighties and did not die of cancer or heart attack. He even survived an English winter and with Pneumonia. If I or you enact that fascinating style of living we may not go far. Why is some body chemistry not susceptible to abuse? Why does a disciplined life style not see the person live long, but die of cancer or a heart attack?
A cover to cover reading of the fascinating biography of cancer, “The Emperor of Maladies”, throws open much knowledge for lay men like us in matters where science have been not quite successful if not failing repeatedly; where it has been hope plummeting to abysmal despair; inexplicable remissions and relapse. How mankind and medical science have even after centuries of battle with cancer find itself still groping at times. There is a lot hidden in the physiological system of man that will take years and years to unravel. Or will we ever like the outer solar system? There is acute shortage of human cadaver for study and training in medical schools. And sometimes artificial, synthetic replicas are used. Imagine the fabulous benefits medical science will gather should mortal remains be autopsied. It may re- write medical knowledge itself.
Why not donate organs that are not diseased? Why must we take them with us into the furnace or underground vault? Why not bequeath it to the needy that the many sins, false hood spoken and done while alive may be nullified with our heart, liver or kidney pulsating in another person, even after we are gone? Ensure our eyes be the beacon of hope for another, while the very same pair of eyes may have feigned blindness at many things?
It has been decided by C, and the children too are aware, that should one of us precede the other, our cadaver must be given to the anatomy department of a medical school. The organs be harvested and donated. True, the grief filled moments may sometimes prove to be prejudicial to the wise cause. Hence there must be someone who would undertake the deed of legal requirements. That is a better way of mourning the passing than wail uncontrollably.
The “Tower of Silence” has a noble idea in it. I would prefer my cadaver be used for a medical cause than let it be barbecued and smoked out of existence or let it be dumped in some underground pit for maggots, worms and wrigglers to feast to the bones.
If paradise is lost by not queuing to be there with my mortal remains intact, let it be. In any case we do not know the dress code to enter paradise.