I have a confession to make: I don’t like scary movies. I once attended a 7th grade basketball sleepaway camp at an area college, and we all watched A Nightmare on Elm Street. It was the first real horror movie for me, and afterward I couldn’t fall asleep for years without thinking about one of the scenes in the movie. One of the things I dislike most about commercial television is when, during a sporting event, a movie trailer comes on for a scary movie. It could be Saturday afternoon and the fourth quarter of a riveting college basketball game, and on comes an ad for A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 7. Jeez, what a way to spoil a good thing.
Explore This IssueJanuary 2022
(Apparently, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree because, just the other day, I caught my 11-year-old putting a pillow in front of his eyes when we were watching a suspenseful moment in a Marvel movie.)
Unfortunately, this is how it’s been lately for me and ENTConnect, the online open access forum that the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery sponsors. In full disclosure, I’m an elected board member of the academy, but prior to my appointment I very much supported the creation and presence of the forum. The forum is for all academy members and, as opposed to other social media sites where you must make an effort to log on in order to peruse, its daily posts come to each member as an email every morning. ENTConnect is hard to miss when looking at your emails in the morning.
There’s so much to enjoy from reading it daily. I often get ideas for ENTtoday, as I feel that I can stay in tune with the thoughts of practitioners around the country. I learn new tricks to solve uncommon problems and see some interesting cases, like the picture of the unfortunate patient who had a Krazy Glue tube jammed down his ear canal that has since remained and needs surgery to remove. I’m constantly impressed by the thoughtful and talented writers we have out in the community, and even though I may not have heard some of their names before, I look forward to the day we do meet and I can remark on how much I enjoyed reading their post.
But, like the horror movie commercials that spoil my enjoyment of a good game, ENTConnect has become increasingly muddled by a select few posters who are using the forum to promote themselves and their personal views on the COVID-19 pandemic. To this day, I remain amazed to hear the thoughts of physicians who are against vaccines and tout the use of non-FDA-approved treatments. I fully understand there are personal reasons against vaccine mandates and legitimate concerns of potential side effects. But, to a large extent, the creation and implementation of the vaccine represents who we are as a physician community—it’s the “why” behind the importance of research and the “how” on our ability to practice evidence-based medicine. And if one doesn’t believe in peer-reviewed research and evidence-based medicine, how does one do what’s best for the patients we serve and keep our oath to do no harm?
Unfortunately, the advent of these open access blogs has made some “legends in their own minds.” It’s an easy way for them to get publicity at the expense of the rest of the otolaryngology community—and the equivalent of a D-rated horror movie commercial spoiling a thrilling college basketball game for me.
I’ll end with this quote from David Roberson, an academy member from Milford, Del., who wrote the following on the forum on Dec. 13, 2021, in response to one of the self-promoters. “Lastly, since 99.9% of us don’t treat COVID, it seems pointless to share the information with us. I would encourage you, if you have made important findings about COVID management, to share them in the appropriate forums—e.g., in groups of infectious disease, primary care, ICU, and similar discussion groups. For almost all of us, this information isn’t relevant to our practices.”
Amen, David. I couldn’t have said it any better.