Teaching and learning anatomy
Greater effort is needed to capitalise on the learning potential of new technologies, argues John Collins
Recent reports from the United Kingdom1 and Australia2 claim the teaching and learning of anatomy in universities is in crisis. This is attributed to less time being allocated to the subject and decreased opportunities to dissect cadavers. Although everyone would agree anatomy is important, few lament the move away from endless hours of cadaver dissection and didactic lectures. Efficient use of new technology and teaching methods should allow better teaching and understanding.
The evidence most frequently quoted for the so called crisis is Raftery's assertion that there has been a “vast increase in claims associated with the lack of anatomical knowledge.”3 This claim was based on the finding that “damage to underlying structures” was the commonest reason for settlements of claims relating to general and vascular surgery.4 Lack of knowledge of anatomy is but one cause of such intraoperative errors, albeit an important one. And many of the errors are