October 1998 Bulletin


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


I confess to being a little concerned by the recent efforts of the AAOS to push for "diversity" within the profession of orthopaedic surgery. Racial discrimination in favor of one individual is always accompanied by racial discrimination against another individual. The AAOS should strive to make sure that no one is discriminated against on the basis of race or sex and then let merit, and merit alone, be the deciding factor for entry into the profession.

The proposition that only those from a particular ethnic or social background can effectively treat individuals from that same ethnic or social background is absurd and a little bit racist. If my loved ones or I were in need of a physician I could care less whether that individual was black or white, man or woman, gay or straight, just so long as that person was the most qualified physician available. The AAOS should resist efforts to lower standards for anyone seeking to become an orthopaedic surgeon.

Clyde A. Farris,

MD Tualatin, Ore.

I read with interest your article referable to diversity in the August 1998 Bulletin. While I could concur that we should attempt to increase racial and ethnic diversity in all aspects of our medical community and in orthopaedic circles, I totally disagree with Dr. Claussin's questioning of the practical use of mastery of the physical sciences, mathematics and biology demanded in medical schools.

The backbone of our medical community has maintained the quality of medical care in this country and I would like to think that the physicians that we are training in the future, in addition to being ethnically diverse, will be just as academically gifted and qualified as those that we now have. I would be opposed to lowering the standards simply to satisfy an ethnic diversity policy.

David R. Pashman,

MD Philadelphia, Pa

I read with great interest the article on diversity in the August 1998 Bulletin. Our friends in academia seem to feel that they need to diversify ethnically, racially, and by gender, and that all organizations and professions in the country need to change their composition to match the demographic patterns of the United States.

Orthopaedic surgery has always been closely aligned with professional sports and the treatment of professional athletes. I seriously doubt that these well-intentioned academics could sell a similar program to the National Basketball Association, the National Football League or to professional baseball. These organizations have always sought to pick, without regard to race and ethnicity, the best players for their teams. I propose we continue to do the same.

In case you have not noticed, the public sentiment in the United States is swinging away from affirmative action because it has not been as successful as academics would lead you to believe; it demeans minorities by telling them that they are just not good enough to make it without a handout; and lastly, and most importantly, because it is just another variety of racism. New laws that prohibit discriminating against anyone because of race or gender have made it illegal to show favoritism towards one race at the expense of another, even if it is for the best of intentions. In our country, the end does not justify the means.

Philip M. Lascelle,

MD Sarasota, Fla.


Wrong-site surgery

I read with great interest the Bulletin (August 1999). Your preoccupation with wrong-site surgery is truly absurd. I have been in practice since 1997 and have not yet done wrong-site surgery. On the other hand, I do know of a surgeon, who is now retired, who did it all the time. This was at the other hospital in town. He was never reprimanded. Instead, a committee was appointed to make sure that he did not do it. Why? He is one of "the old boys," horrible surgeon, but strong politically and with financial interest in the hospital and a related health insurance company.

Therein lies the problem. Marking the site is not the answer. The answer is "get rid of the bums."

Prasanna L. Soni, MD

Canton, Ohio

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