LUCOM student-doctors, faculty remember and honor their “patients”

Asa Keimig, LUCOM Marketing and PR Coordinator | Oct 5, 2016

LUCOM student-doctor speaks during annual cadaver ceremony.This past Friday, Sept. 30, at the original Thomas Road Baptist Church, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) student-doctors and faculty held a special Cadaver Memorial Ceremony. The ceremony honored 32 men and women who donated their bodies in order to advance the education of future doctors.

These individuals were both patients and teachers for the Class of 2019 and played a vital role in educating these future physicians. William Edwards, Class of 2019 President, welcomed all in attendance with opening remarks on the significance of the ceremony and introduced Ben Gutierrez, Ph.D., Liberty University Vice Provost for Academic Administration, who led the invocation.

Timothy O. Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, delivered the first message on how touched and honored he was to remember and celebrate the lives of those who had made such a selfless decision and  generous gift. “We have come together to celebrate life, the life of thirty-two men and women who all gave a gift that has impacted the lives of future osteopathic physicians,” said Dr. Leonard. “Physicians who will go on to impact thousands of lives because of this sacrificial gift.”

Timothy O. Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., delivers message during LUCOM Cadaver Ceremony.

Dr. Leonard described these individuals as gifted educators who gave the gift of their bodies to student-doctors to help them learn the value of life, to strive to become the best individuals that they can be, and even to confront death.

“I see God’s handiwork in all of His creation, but no clearer than in the human body,” said Nate Ebersole, Class of 2019. “Through my studies this past year, my faith and wonder of God has increased beyond any measure as I see minuscule details that seem only to point to an amazing Creator.”

R. James Swanson, Ph.D., Chair and Professor, Department of Anatomical Sciences, spoke on the cadaveric role in medical education in addition to the LUCOM anatomy facilities and the state-of-the-art technology available to student-doctors in the LUCOM Anatomy Lab.

Four student-doctors from the class of 2019 also delivered messages during the ceremony, each on the different impact that their gifted educator made in their lives. “Death is not only an inevitable but also a necessary end,” said Bright Izekor, Class of 2019. “It is a stepping stone, not a stumbling block, and it paves the way for our eternal progression. Over the course of the last year I have had a series of what I would like to refer to as sober reflections, one of which was on death – the inevitable end to man’s mortal sojourn,” said Izekor. “Death is often viewed with dread and negativity; it has once been described as ‘the cold hands that snatches loved ones and acquaintances.’ While death can certainly bring sadness and grief to those who’ve lost loved ones, the truth of the gospel has however given us reasons to believe that death is a blessing, not a curse.” Izekor expressed how he awaits the day when he is able to meet these noble men and women, clasp their hands in gratitude and say “thank you.”

The Cadaver Memorial Ceremony was organized and led by the Class of 2019.