IUN Medical Students Honor A Sacrifice for Science
By: Hilary Powell
February 2, 2015 — Medical student Ben Goldenberg knows a lot about the life of patient Joshua Pate.
“I know that he loved bowling,” Goldenberg says.
“He was very good at bowling. He participated in a lot of local tournaments in Evansville where he’s from and won several of them. He was also an avid pool player. He loved billiards. I saw a couple of pictures of him with some of his professional, favorite professional pool players, which was neat.”
He rattles off Josh’s hobbies and gifts about as easily as Josh’s brother, Jeremy Kroeger.
“He was a great kid. We enjoyed a lot of good times together,” Kroeger says of his brother. “It didn’t matter where he was at or what he was doing, he could always make somebody laugh. He was the center of attention. The boy could dance he could shoot pool, he could throw a bowling ball.
But there’s one difference: Goldenberg never met Josh while the 31-year-old was alive. Josh died last September after being diagnosed with cancer.
But Goldenberg did get to meet his patient’s family members at a memorial service hosted this month by Indiana University Northwest School of Medicine first year medical students.
“The service of thanksgiving and remembrance for our donors is a chance of us to honor the people who chose to donate their bodies for us to use in the anatomy lab,” the first year medical student says.
Josh and five other donors gave their bodies to scientific learning.
The ceremony, which includes pictures, flowers, and military honors, is the only one of its kind in the state, according to program officials. Plus, it’s one of few programs nationwide where students can thank families for the gift of donors.
“It feels good, I think it’s the right thing to do. I really think that all medical schools should have a service like this. Because it really is a very important part of our education and it really is a big commitment and a huge gift to donate anatomically to a program like this,” Goldenberg says.
The donors help students study the human anatomy.
Students exchange hand-written letters thanking families.
It’s an intimate service where a shy brother can talk about the joy Josh brought him.
“I know the only reason you’re doing this is because he’s making you,” he says. “This is the kind of guy he was. He’d put somebody on the spot, just for laughs. He’s up there laughing. He’s laughing at me. I guarantee you.”
It’s also a chance for the families to get some kind of closure, students say.
“It’s just a good opportunity to honor them and show our respect for the great donation that they made to us and all the help they gave us in learning medicine,” Goldenberg says.
It’s also a celebration of a selfless sacrifice where Josh’s legacy is made a little longer because of the learning he inspires.