Why We Work With Real Organs

As we prepared for our “Restart Your Body”  show, we wondered about the best way to make a strong impact with you, the viewer. We did an unprecedented thing to show the importance of staying healthy and keeping fit: We gave everyone in the audience an organ from a local teaching hospital. The whole experience was fun – and, honestly, a bit of a shock – for our audience, and it even reminded me of my own days back in anatomy lab.

I graduated from medical school over 26 years ago, but I still vividly remember those days in anatomy lab: the strong smell of formaldehyde, quizzing my lab partners, and feeling completely humbled by the whole experience.

All physicians study the wonders of the human body starting with a hands-on approach: by dissecting on a cadaver – the body of a recently deceased person who altruistically decided to donate his or her body to science. Before we started our first anatomy lab, our professor instructed us on how to care for our cadaver with the utmost respect. From the beginning, we learned our cadaver’s age and cause of death. She was 76 and died of lung cancer. There’s no other as-effective way to learn about the human body. Because we work with the same person for 10 months, he or she becomes our first patient. 

You may have noticed that we use real organs on the show. I feel that it serves a very strong educational point: a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes, people need to see a clogged artery, feel a diseased liver, or see a tumor in the flesh in order to get the point. These kinds of lessons save lives. That is why I did this show.

I wanted to show you how to recharge the organs within your body. There’s no way for anyone to see how they are damaging their livers without actually seeing a damaged liver. It’s hard to realize the importance of your thyroid without actually seeing what it looks like. We also discussed how to take better care of your heart and digestive system. I’m grateful to have the ability to show you these important lessons. And we’ve put all these lessons online for you. For the Complete Body Restart Guide, click here.

Our Medical Unit is in charge of getting organs for the show. They get the organs from teaching hospitals. Thankfully, the teaching hospitals are open to sharing their specimens with us because, first and foremost, we treat the organs with the same care and respect as we would in medicine. Second, they also know, as we do, the impact it’s had when I use real organs to teach people about their bodies. Our millions of viewers get a front-row seat to what used to be seen by only medical students and doctors. And it’s very powerful.

My Medical Unit goes to various labs: anatomy, pathology, and surgery. They look for specimens that tell the best story – from the worst cases to the most normal/common. They transport them to our studio and set them up. When the show is over, they pack them up and store them for use in a future show or return some to the hospital.

Now, as a front-row viewer, I hope you appreciate what we physicians experience. Make sure to tune into today’s show to learn how much your body really does for you — and how you can say thank you.