The need for medical personnel to be able to perform certain emergency medical procedures, such as endotracheal intubation, intravascular acess, defibrillation, and tracheotomy cannot be questioned. However, it is difficult to practise these techniques on patients and mannequins. Using newly deceased persons is an alternative which allows the procedures to be performed under nearly realistic circumstances, but this educational approach could raise certain ethical objections among staff who are not adequately informed about the educational objectives. A survey of the ten largest Norwegian hospitals revealed that only two had adopted this practice. The rest had considered it, but had decided not to start this routine. None of the hospitals had refrained from it after thoroughly analysing the ethical issues involved. Six hospitals used cadavers for other instruction. The practice represents a unique opportunity for training, and the ethical implications are justifiable provided that the training is conducted with respect and compassion for the deceased.