“At the foundation of all true medical knowledge, and without which there can be neither physician nor surgeon, is the study of anatomy. He who attempts the practice of medicine without this indispensable preliminary is an imposter. Yet there is but one means by which knowledge can be perfectly obtained – it is by the dissection of the dead.” So stated John W. Draper, president of the University Medical College faculty in his introductory lecture to students in 1853. However, dissection was illegal in New York State. That same year, University Medical College faculty petitioned the New York State Legislature for the legalization of “Dissection of the Dead.” One faculty member, Martyn Paine, MD, spent three months in Albany fighting for the “Bone Bill,” as it was then called. The bill passed in 1854.
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