I’m afraid I don’t have information on statistical instances of preservative exposure, but I can assure you that “pockets” exist. Dissecting fibrous or skeletal structures can sometimes lead to squishing structures that contain a lot of fluid. Dissecting parts of the heart or head are good examples of this.
In addition, not only are eyes a concern, but oral exposure is a more likely scenario. It has been my experience that students will accidentally splash specimen fluids on their faces, and often work with their mouths slightly agape (I’ve done it! Resulted in specimen blood on my cheek and chin!) Labs commonly require the use of eye protection, but rarely to the rest of the face.
I got the following inquiry from one of my colleagues:
Do you have any figures for how many eye injuries per year come from animal dissections in instructional labs? Or something similar to that? I'm wondering this because when I observed Dr. X dissecting a cadaver, I noticed that the tissue is moist to preserve the body, but there are no “puddles” or “pocket” of preservative that I noticed. I know there have been documented cases of formaldehyde-based preservatives getting in people’s eyes, but I can't seem to find any statistics on it.
Does anyone have any information on this? I suspect an appeal is being made to relax the requirement to wear eye protection when dissecting and my colleague would like to provide rationale for its use based on past performance (which is no guarantee of future results).
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