June 1998 Bulletin

Letters to the Editor

Full disclosure

Fifteen to 20 years ago, the New Jersey Orthopaedic Society endorsed a resolution which I had introduced at an Academy meeting, requesting full conflict of interest disclosure and urging that The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) do likewise. Although disclosure ultimately became AAOS and JBJS policy, I have never felt that the degree and nature of the disclosure was adequate, consisting of a simple statement that one author or another received something of value.

It was therefore of special interest to me to read in the April issue of the Bulletin that failure to disclose financial relationships between AAOS faculty and device manufacturers has become one of the issues in the pedicle screw litigation.

It is my opinion that the pedicle screw litigation is a vicious and inappropriate intrusion upon academic freedom, that the Academy is without fault and that the litigation must ultimately fail. Nevertheless, it is clear that it is now an appropriate time to reconsider the issue of disclosure, one which describes in full detail the legitimate relationships which might exist between authors, faculty, presenters and commercial interests. Doctors given such information should be able to determine the extent to which they should rely upon material received from those sources.

Robert A. Goldstone, MD
Ridgewood, N.J.

Organ donation

Thank you so much for the article in the February AAOS Bulletin. We have had immeasurable pleasure in starting our Live and Then Give organ donor awareness initiative, and the response has been overwhelming. Our program has been invited by the Department of Health and Human Services to be one of several donor initiatives to provide input for Vice-President Gore and Sec. Donna Shalala's "National Organ and Tissue Donation Initiative."

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the AMA, Dr. Tom Reardon, invited us to present our program to the Board. The AMA House of Delegates wants our program to be a model for other states and this will be the beginning of this process.

Every day, 12 people die waiting for an organ, and every 16 minutes a new name is added to the list. It is the responsibility and the time for of all of us, led by the physicians of this country, to try to make a difference for all the 56,000 now on the waiting list.

Phil H. Berry Jr., MD
Dallas, Texas

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