Donated to Science film reveals truth behind body donation process at Hunterian Museum

By Laura Burgess | 11 January 2011
Students admiring a chart
Students from the documentary Donated to Science admire an organ© PNR Films
Film: Donated to Science, Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons, London, January 13 2011

The importance of someone agreeing to donate their bodies prior to their death can sometimes be undervalued and overlooked.

In the premiere of this documentary, Donated to Science, Dr Paul Trotman spends 45 minutes exploring just what happens after a person chooses to donate their body to medical science by following a group of medical students during their training.

The students are seen in anatomy classes at the University of Otago Medical School in New Zealand, dissecting cadavers and describing their attitude on what they have learnt.

The images of the pupils working on the cadavers are interspersed with interviews with the donors just before they pass away, addressing their reasons for donation and the feelings of their family and friends.

“I wanted to make an interesting film that took people a place they had never been and which turned their expectations on their head,” says Trotman.

“I think we managed it. People expect a film showing dissection, but what they don’t expect is to see something so beautifully shot and to get so caught up in the emotional side of it."

The film approaches body donation from an unusual perspective, highlighting the efforts of the medical students as they learn three-dimensional anatomy in practical sessions. It underlines the respect the medical profession has for the individual donor.

Screening takes place 7pm. Admission free, to reserve a place call 020 7869 6560 or visit

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