Monthly Archives: October 2009

End Of Life Counseling Stays in Health Care Reform Bill

End of Life counseling just won’t die.   In the proposed health care legislation today, the bill would allow doctors to bill Medicare for spending time with their patients discussing end of life choices.

The full text of the proposed health care reform bill can be found here…

 The exact words defining end of life planning can be found starting on page 129 in a section titled “Dissemination of Advance Planning Information.  

 Find out more about health care directives at

New California Law Enhances Veteran Death Benefits

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law SB 469 last weekend.  It’s a bill that will enable family members of qualified veterans to ensure a proper burial for their loved ones.  Spearheaded by state senator Sam Aanestad, it will allow the California Department of Veterans Affairs to waive the required $500 charged for burial at any veterans cemeteries run by the state when family members cannot afford to pay it.

According to Bill Baird, the senator’s press secretary, the legislation was drafted after the governor became aware that some dependents of honorably discharged veterans were turned away from the Northern California Veterans Cemetery because their relatives could not pay the fee.

Funding for the measure will be covered by private donations.

Cadavers: Where do they come from?

Anyone watching Brothers and Sisters last Sunday saw Justin Walker getting ready to cut open a cadaver as part of his medical school training. Where did that cadaver come from? How did it get to a medical school?

A brief history of cadavers

Medical schools have used cadavers for training for more than 200 years. Over this period of time, the methods of acquiring and preserving them have changed. Criminals who were executed for their crimes were used as the first cadavers since Christians believed that the souls of dissected bodies could not go to heaven and few offered their bodies to science. As the number of criminals being executed decreased, it became commonplace to steal bodies from graves in order to keep the market supplied.

The tradition of dissecting criminals continued into the eighteenth and nineteenth century when anatomy schools became popular in England and Scotland. The only cadavers available were criminals’, and anatomists were portrayed as no better than an executioner.
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