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Corpse supply remains dry for medical research

[ 2010-04-13 11:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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Medical colleges are complaining about a lack of corpses for study and asking for another 30 percent to meet their needs.

"We received about 50 corpses last year for 60 freshmen taking anatomy classes. Among the three medical universities in Beijing, we were the only one to have enough," said a doctor surnamed Wang from Beijing Union Medical College. The school received almost half of the city's total donations.

Wang, who is in charge of donated bodies at the university, said the basic need of donations for teaching purposes in Beijing still far exceeded the supply.

He also said the bodies available to his university only satisfied teaching purposes and not medical research. To cover both, they need at least 30 percent more.

Wang revealed how the other two medical universities - Capital Medical University and Peking University Health Science Center - welcome about 200 college students into their anatomy programs every year but got fewer than 70 corpses.

Guo Lijie, director of the volunteer department at Beijing Red Cross, said the current level of donations is too low at all universities and colleges. She confirmed that at least 30 percent more bodies were needed annually to handle demand.

Guo said in most low-tier medical colleges, only one or two bodies are available for study.

"The practice of donating bodies started in Beijing in 1999. At the moment, we are lagging well behind Shanghai," she said.

According to statistics from Beijing Red Cross, from 1999 to 2009, as many as 11,696 people registered to donate their bodies after death. However, only 942 bodies were actually received. In 2009, medical colleges received 114 bodies.

To encourage more people to donate their bodies, NGOs are taking a proactive role.

Love Storehouse, a group organized by would-be donors and founded in 2007, now has more than 20,000 volunteers.

Cheng Yi, 39, is a new member of Love Storehouse who plans to register her body for donation soon. She joined the cornea donation project in Beijing in 1997 after getting the go-ahead from her 65-year-old mother.

"She was very supportive when I told her I planned to donate my body,” she said. We both believed it was much more meaningful to contribute what we have left after death to medical study rather than accept cremation. Benefiting others is a wonderful last choice."


1. What do medical colleges need?

2. How much more do they need?

3. What are the donated bodies used for?


1. More corpses for study.

2. Another 30 percent to meet their needs.

3. Teaching anatomy and medical research.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Corpse supply remains dry for medical research

About the broadcaster:

Corpse supply remains dry for medical research

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.