History Anatomists

In response, the English Parliament passed the Anatomy Act 1832, which finally provided for an adequate and legitimate supply of corpses by allowing dissection of destitutes. The relaxed restrictions on dissection provided a suitable environment for Gray's Anatomy, a text that was a collective effort and became widely popular. Now seen as unwieldy, Gray's Anatomy was born out of a need to create a single volume on anatomy for the traveling doctor. The shift from the largely public displays of dissection in anatomy theatres to dissections carried out in classrooms meant that there was a drastic change in who could observe a dissection. Females for example, who at this time were not allowed to attend medical school, could broaden their knowledge by attending the anatomy theatres. So the shift from prosection to dissection meant a reduction in the number of people that could benefit from a single cadaver. At this point as well tighter regulation of the medical profession and donations of bodies resulted in various implications for carrying out dissections. Private medical schools which offered summer schools and various other courses involving cadaveric dissection allowed one route into gaining membership to the Royal College of Surgeons. However from 1822 the Royal College of surgeons would no longer accept these qualifications, this as result would see these largely unregulated schools begin to close. Not only as a result of this, but the Anatomy Act 1832 made it much harder (more bureaucracy) to obtain bodies for dissection. The act resulted in only the large teaching hospitals feasibly being able to continue teaching anatomy courses due to agreements with patients that if they donated their body they would receive free treatment.