November 18, 2013

Memorial service held for body donors

AUGUSTA — Dexter Mattox’s first patient in dental school was a 94-year-old retired nurse.

They spent almost one year together, but Mattox never knew her name, her personality and never heard her voice.

Even so, this woman taught Mattox more than any textbook or diagram ever could.

By giving her body to medicine after her death, she allowed Mattox and his classmates to literally explore the makeup of her brain, see veins and arteries up close and touch the muscles in her face.

On Friday, Mattox, a second-year student in Georgia Regents University’s College of Dental Medicine, was finally able to say thank you.

GRU medical students and faculty held a memorial service to honor 170 donors who gave their bodies to science so students could better understand human anatomy.

They hosted the donors’ families, who packed the Natalie and Lansing B. Lee Jr. Auditorium and held a service that had the feel of a funeral with a message.

In front of floral wreaths in white ribbon, students read statements about how working with the bodies impacted their learning and lives. They sang tribute songs with guitars strumming on stage.

“While we’ll never know the characteristics or personalities of the donors, we do know their generosity,” said Chris Woods, a student in the College of Allied Health Sciences Physician Assistant Program. “The gift these donors have given us not only directly affects my classmates and I but the tens of thousands of patients we’ll see over the course of our careers.”

Sylvia Smith, professor and chair in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, which oversees the anatomical donations program, assured families their loved ones were treated with dignity and respect.

She said she understands the sacrifice and worry families of donors go through. After her niece, Jessica, was killed in 2003 in a car crash at the age of 20, Smith’s family saw Jessica’s commitment as an organ donor materialize.

“Her heart, lungs, liver and kidneys were given to needy transplant patients,” Smith said. “Jessica’s corneas had been transplanted and the recipient was eternally grateful for the gift of sight. Thus, in the most enduring way, my niece lives on and your family members live on as well.”

Edi Jorgaqi traveled from New York with his wife, Artemisa, just to attend the service in memory of his cousin, Thomas Mangelly.

Mangelly was a World War II veteran, who raised his family in Augusta. When he died in 2011 at age 94, Mangelly had arranged to donate his body to the medical school.

His daughter in law, Greta Mangelly, said the ceremony was a way to honor someone they loved so much.

“It’s been almost two years, but it’s still hard,” Greta Mangelly said. “This was just one more way to say goodbye.”


Information from: The Augusta Chronicle ,


Text Only
  • DFD Firefighters Fight For Air.jpg Area firefighters climbing Atlanta tower to benefit lung association

    Local firefighters are teaming up to participate in the American Lung Association’s 8th annual vertical challenge to race to the top of One Ninety One Peachtree Tower in downtown Atlanta Saturday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Obama gets bill giving docs temporary Medicare fix

    Congress once again has given doctors temporary relief from a flawed Medicare payment formula that threatened them with a 24 percent cut in their fees.

    April 1, 2014

  • Deadline brings high interest for health insurance

    A blizzard, jammed phone lines and unreliable websites failed to stop throngs of procrastinating Americans from trying to sign up for health coverage by the midnight Monday deadline for President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative.

    April 1, 2014

  • Health care website stumbles on last day

    The Obama administration’s health care website stumbled early Monday, falling out of service for nearly four hours on deadline day for sign-ups. After it was fixed, officials plowed ahead with a nationwide promotional drive, almost like getting out the vote on Election Day.

    March 31, 2014

  • Bess Stanford earns Extra Mile Award at Gordon Hospital

    Bess Stanford has been awarded Gordon Hospital’s prestigious Extra Mile Award.

    March 19, 2014

  • Gordon Hospital accepts infant car seat donation

    Gordon Hospital officials were thrilled to receive several infant car seats recently thanks to a program through the Gordon County Probate Court.

    March 19, 2014

  • Dr. Carson 1 mlh.jpg Doctor on call

    Call it the wave of the future or maybe a return to ancient practice. Dr. Stephen Carson’s medical practice sounds a little like both.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two-year extension seen for canceled health plans

    The Obama administration will allow a two-year extension for people whose individual health insurance policies don’t comply with requirements of the new health care law, helping to defuse a politically difficult election-year issue for Democrats.

    March 5, 2014

  • Health law fix for state-run websites

    The Obama administration quietly issued a health law fix Thursday to help states that have had technical problems running their own enrollment websites. It could stir up critics but may help the law’s supporters.

    February 28, 2014

  • Does your insurance plan cover self-inflicted injuries?

    Dealing with a suicide or attempted suicide is stressful enough. Some health plans make the experience worse by refusing to cover medical costs for injuries that are related to suicide or an attempt - even though experts say that in many cases such exclusions aren't permitted under federal law.

    February 27, 2014