Medical Gross and Developmental Anatomy is the course every medical student dreads. As one aspiring physician described it to journalist-author Steve Giegerich, "it's the bridge you have to cross if you want to become a doctor."
Four lab partners facing that notoriously difficult course at Newark's University of Medicine and Dentistry are Sherry Ikalowych, a former nurse and mother of four; Jennifer Hannum, an ultracompetitive jock; Udele Tagoe, a determined Duke graduate of Ghanian descent; and Ivan Gonzalez, a Nicaraguan refugee and unlikely medical student. This lively chronicle of each of their ambitions, failures, and successes has at its center Tom Lewis, the cadaver lying before them to be dissected. From their first face-to-face encounter with Lewis as an anonymous cadaver on the stainless steel table to a rich reverence for Lewis's generous donation of his body to science, what they each learn about medicine, compassion, life, and death makes for a fascinating insiders' account of the shaping of a medical professional.