Dental graduate school students and an orthodontics professor at the University of Connecticut are making unconventional headlines for taking a selfie with “two severed heads used for medical research at a training workshop at Yale University,” according to the Associated Press.
The students apparently took the photo during the DePuy Synthes Future Leaders Workshop, “which focused on dental-related facial deformities.”
The news outlet stated that it had “obtained a copy of the photo from a person who received it through a private group chat. That person, who demanded anonymity because of potential harm to their career, said the person who took the selfie would not give the AP permission to publish it for fear of being expelled.”
In the photo, the students and visiting Yale professor Dr. Flavio Uribe can be seen looking at the camera while the others are working, all of them in surgical masks. There are two severed heads on the tables, facing up.
The AP also said that Uribe noted the photo was taken so quickly that he was not aware it showed the severed heads. He was using them to show students where the proper placement of screws should be, Gizmodo reports.
A spokesperson for Yale told the AP that there are signs posted telling people of the laboratory’s no-photography policy, saying that this incident “was disturbing and an inexcusable deviation from anything Yale would expect to occur.”
Medical training with actual dead bodies is a huge part of student life – a kind of morbid rite of passage. These incidents happen more often than expected, usually with dire consequences for the people involved. In 2010, there was an alleged photo dump of corpses taken by and from students in medical institutions that made its way online.
The trend now is moving towards synthetic cadavers, but these can get expensive, such as the SynDaver Patient that costs $95,000.