October 2001 Bulletin

Letters

Write to The Editor, AAOS Bulletin, 6300 North River Road, Rosemont, Ill. 60018-4262

Volunteerism

I feel there is a major problem with the article regarding volunteerism in the Frontlines section of the June 2001 Bulletin. The idea of statutory immunity for volunteer physicians is really humanitarian and would seem as a great benefit for free clinics and all people concerned. The Ohio State Medical Board thought as much in Ohio five years ago and led a drive to have this legislation passed into law. There were some difficulties but it was accomplished.

The problem was that the trial lawyers refused to cooperate to give up ground for future litigation. They interpreted the wording "free clinic" so that the clinic was not permitted to take any funding from the patient or any state or federal organization or Medicare, for that matter, since then it would not be "free." They managed to make it stand. Therefore, our law which we had worked so hard to obtain was completely negated.

Obviously, some other states have had much better results and more power to them. Those states that are starting action along these lines, please tell them to bear this in mind.

Robert S. Heidt, MD
Cincinnati, Ohio
Past President
Ohio State Medical Board

CAQs

After reading the comments of Lowry Jones Jr., MD, (August 2001 Bulletin) regarding the CAQs I found myself in full agreement with him. I agree with Dr. Lowry when he said that the vast majority of sports injuries are well treated by orthopaedists who have not had specific specialty training in "sports medicine." A number of the older "sports medicine" orthopaedists in our area never had fellowship training, but just had a special interest in the field. If those doctors were starting out now, one wonders if they would be able to narrow their practices in that manner without a fellowship.

I am semi-retired and only do IMEs. In going through many medical records in the course of performing IMEs, it is obvious that there are far too many instances of orthopaedists acting more like technicians than physicians. We all were physicians before we became orthopaedists, but as narrowly focused as some orthopaedists have become, it seems that many in our specialty have forgotten that. Granting more CAQs is only going to foster this attitude.

John W. Thompson, MD
Lake Oswego, Ore.

Dr. (Lowry) Jones’ comments in AAOS Bulletin, August 2001 read like comments one would see in JAMA in the ‘30s and ‘40s when the GPs of that era tried to prevent the formation of specialty societies. A vote of AMA members would have been almost the same as you report the percentages of AAOS members who are against the expansion of the concept of CAQs. As history suggests, divisiveness cuts both ways. Why not think of innovative ways of both developing CAQs with the cooperation of the Academy and also supporting the general orthopaedist from the adverse impact of super specialization described by Dr. Jones? We should be smart enough to figure something out better than just being negative.

Lawrence H. Gordon, MD
Honolulu, Hawaii

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