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Open AccessArticle

A Survey on the Knowledge and Attitudes of Italian Medical Students toward Body Donation: Ethical and Scientific Considerations

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Section of Forensic Medicine and Bioethics, Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Via De Toni 12, 16132 Genova, Italy
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Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University of Rome, Corso della Repubblica, 79, 04100 Latina, Italy
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Section of Biostatistic, Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Via Antonio Pastore 1, 16132 Genova, Italy
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Pathology Accademy Unit, San Martino Hospital, 16132 Genova, Italy
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Department of Surgical Sciences and Integrated Diagnostics (DISC), University of Genoa, 16132 Genova, Italy
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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Unit, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, 16132 Genova, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(7), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7070168
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 27 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Epidemiology & Public Health)
Post mortem body donation (PMBD) for medical training and research plays a key role in medical-surgical education. The aim of this study is to evaluate Italian medical students’ awareness and attitudes regarding this practice. A questionnaire was sent to 1781 Italian medical students (MS). A total of 472 MS responded: 406 (92.91%) had a strongly positive attitude to PMBD, while 31 (7.09%) were not in favor. The majority of subjects were Catholic (56.36%), while 185 and 21 subjects, said that they did not hold any religious beliefs, or were of other religions, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed significant associations (p-values < 0.05) between PMBD and religion, as well as perceptions of PMBD as an act of altruism, a tool for learning surgical practices, body mutilation, and an act contrary to faith. Although Italian MS believed cadaver dissection to be an important part of their education, they did not know much about it and had not received training on this altruistic choice. As future doctors, MS can play an important role in raising public awareness of the importance of PMBD for medical education and research. Specific educational programs to improve knowledge of this topic among MS are needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: post mortem body donation; cadaver; ethics; students’ attitudes; anatomy education; medical education; cadaver lab; unclaimed bodies post mortem body donation; cadaver; ethics; students’ attitudes; anatomy education; medical education; cadaver lab; unclaimed bodies
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Ciliberti, R.; Gulino, M.; Gazzaniga, V.; Gallo, F.; Vellone, V.G.; De Stefano, F.; Santi, P.; Baldelli, I. A Survey on the Knowledge and Attitudes of Italian Medical Students toward Body Donation: Ethical and Scientific Considerations. J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7, 168.

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