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Meet “Doctor Phee” who looks after corpses for a living

A story about a man with no medical background who looks after the corpses used for training medical students at Ubon University was shared 20,000 times by fascinated Thais this week.

doctor-pheeSuphot Ornrat, 42, is in charge of the bodies that are used for dissection at the university and he is so popular and well respected that he has an affectionate nickname of “Doctor Phee”. Phee means ghost or spirit in Thai, reports Sanook.

He has been working at the uni for ten years. He never went to university or received specialist medical training and left school at 18.

He has learned all about the human body through preparing the corpses for the students that are training to be doctors.

All training for him was on the job.

And such is his dedication to his job and respect for the dead that he feels can teach the living so much, that he intends to donate his own body for medical research when he dies.

When sanook.com visited he said there were 23 dead bodies under his control. Apart from the bodies – that are referred to as “Kru Yai” a Thai term usually used to refer to headmasters – he must prepare teaching manuals and surgical equipment used for cutting or sawing up the bodies.

Everything must be ready for the students each day, he said.

He said that he himself had cut up some 80 bodies in his time and each time he makes an incision he shows respect to the dead asking for forgiveness from sin.

He said that he virtually lives at the training institute being there from dawn to dusk. His office is next to the corpses – he said he often looks out on them with a feeling of awe and respect for the good they can bring to humanity.

And Suphot receives that respect back from the many students who have passed through his department. He said he receives that recognition not only when students are coming in to learn but when they have graduated.

He said that whenever trained doctors meet him or come back to the institute they remember him and show him great respect as if they were still students. This fills him with great pride, he said, knowing that he is appreciated for doing a good job.

So he has decided that when he goes himself he will donate his own body to medical research so that students can learn and he can continue to be useful after his death.

Sanook

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