Luo Yixiao, the five-year-old girl whose father drew public attention with a column designed to encourage her, passed away in January. After her death, Luo’s father donated her body to the Health Science Center at Shenzhen University.
Luo’s body was the 53rd donated for the research and development of clinical medicine. It is especially rare to see child cadavers donated.
As of 2015, there were 2,097 people who had donated their bodies in Beijing. A monument in a cemetery on the southeast side marks their contribution.
Body donation began in Beijing in 1999. During the last 16 years, as many as 20,000 people volunteered to donate their bodies. Only 2,097 of them successfully donated their bodies to Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking University Health Science Center and Capital Medical University, the three stations capable of receiving bodies in the capital.
Gu Peiliang, officer of body donations at Peking University Health Science Center and Capital Medical University, said there were only 29 donated bodies as of 2008. The number rose slightly after media began advertising the need for donations.
Si Yinchu, secretary general of Beijing Society for Anatomical Science, said donated bodies are in short supply.
Ideally, four to six students can study each cadaver. Currently, each body must be shared by 10 students. Si said anatomical practice is important and necessary for medical students to practice cutting skin, separating the nerves and other skills.