December 2001 Bulletin

In the News

State of Minnesota halts elective knee surgery
On November 18, the Minnesota Health Department asked all hospitals and surgery centers to suspend all elective knee surgeries for one week following the recent deaths of three patients. Two men died on November 11 after having surgery at St. Cloud Hospital. A third man died on November 16, after having surgery at a different hospital. Two of the patients had knee replacement surgery and the other had a cartilage graft. Each had previously been healthy. One knee replacement was done at one hospital, the cartilage graft and other knee replacement performed at the second institution. Officials from the Minnesota Health Department report, on the basis of preliminary unconfirmed lab results, that one of the patients may have been infected with bacteria from the clostridium family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta sent an alert to hospitals nationwide telling them to watch for other cases. The CDC is asking that orthopaedic surgeons who are aware of any surgical patients who have died unexpectedly to please contact the Epidemiology Section, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, CDC at (800) 893-0485 or (404) 639-3311 (24 hours a day). The AAOS is closely monitoring the situation and will inform members about any pertinent new developments in the case.

2002 Biennial Orthopaedic Physician Census now on-line
The 2002 AAOS member survey to update the profile of orthopaedic practice is now online. Conducted every two years, the census allows AAOS to gather data that helps tailor programs to members’ needs. The information gathered also enables the Academy to better represent the specialty in Washington, D.C. and in state houses across the country. All practicing orthopaedic surgeons in the U.S. and Canada should fill out a census. The census on-line takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete and submit over a 56K modem connection. If you prefer not filling out the census online, a hard copy version will be mailed in early January 2002 to every member who has not submitted an on-line survey. AAOS Fellows and candidate members with an e-mail address on file were notified mid-November of the census online link. Members with no e-mail address can find the link in the Member Services section of the home page at http://www.aaos.org. The AAOS Board of Directors urges all members to respond to the request for information.

OKO draws rave reviews
Orthopaedic Knowledge Online (OKO), an innovative new online service that helps AAOS member surgeons to instantly access current, reliable video and text-based information to diagnose, treat and manage selected musculoskeletal disorders, is drawing rave reviews. The internet-based reference library of clinical review material was launched October 23, 2001. Some early comments include: "This is terrific. It will be very useful. Thanks for being so resourceful," Helen Horstmann, MD. "Congratulations . . . on a very user-friendly educational platform! It is quite an accomplishment," Dave A. Alexander, MD. "Looks very good so far. I like the real-time streaming video," Michael Gordon, MD. "Congratulations. Indeed it is a great development and big bonus for members. I watched a video clipping on meniscal injury. It is (a) great innovative learning/teaching and educational tool/modality. Major advantage being up-datable any time," Basu Vastrad, MD. OKO can be accessed through the AAOS web site at http://www.aaos.org/oko.

Help increase AAOS representation in AMA House of Delegates
AAOS members who also are members of the American Medical Association can help the AAOS increase its representation in the AMA House of Delegates. The AMA is asking its members to vote for the national medical specialty society that best represents them in the AMA House of Delegates. Each AMA member is allowed one vote; for every 1,000 votes naming the AAOS, the AAOS will receive one additional delegate in the House of Delegates. The ballot is on the AMA web site at http://www.ama-assn.org/ballot. The deadline for voting is Jan. 31, 2002. E-mail all questions to: ballot@ama-assn.org

Pain management CME needed to renew medical licenses in California
If California physicians want to renew their medical licenses, they’re going to have to brush up on pain management techniques. California enacted legislation this fall that requires physicians who could encounter pain management and end-of-life care issues to take 12 hours of continuing medical education classes on the topic to renew their licenses. The legislation goes into effect Jan. 1, 2002. While some other states have mandated that physicians must take certain CME classes to renew medical licenses, California is the first state to require classes in pain management. Also, it marks the first time that California is requiring physicians to take a specific CME class. The bill was sparked in part by a recent Alameda County, Calif., case—Bergman v. Chin—in which a jury found a physician was reckless and negligent in the way he treated an elderly patient’s pain.


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