Having spent my career in academic otolaryngology, I feel a particularly close relationship with the SUO. Although I attend the excellent meetings of other groups, I find the SUO meetings the most relevant and interesting of all the meetings in which I participate. It is truly a gathering of individuals with common interests and issues specifically relating to academic otolaryngology. With its sessions on resident education, career development, and other very practical issues, the SUO provides an incredible opportunity for young academic otolaryngologists to learn from those who have been there, done that. We old dogs also learn a few new tricks as well. In addition, the opportunity for professional networking and the development of what has turned out to be for me strong, lifelong friendships have been some of the most important outcomes of membership in the SUO.
Explore This IssueMay 2008
I strongly encourage anyone who is in academic otolaryngology to join the SUO and participate actively in the society. I believe you will find the SUO truly brings value to its members.
Robert H. Miller, MD, MBA
Chair, Editorial Board
News & Notes
Medical Students, Residents Hesitant about Disclosing Medical Errors to Patients
Even though patients endorse the disclosure of harmful medical errors, such disclosure seems to be uncommon. There is little data regarding trainees’ attitudes about and experiences with medical errors, or their experience in disclosing errors to patients. However, the available literature suggests that most trainees have been personally involved with errors and that discussing these with patients presents substantial challenges. The March issue of Academic Medicine contains a report on a multicenter cross-sectional survey of trainees that explored their attitudes and experiences with medical errors and their disclosure.
The questionnaire, which used the Institute of Medicine’s definitions of adverse event, medical error, and near miss, asked respondents-medical students, interns, and residents-about key safety topics, such as whether medical errors are a serious problem and how frequently these errors occur. Question topics included what types of errors should be disclosed, potential barriers to disclosure, and respondents’ personal experiences with errors and their disclosure.
Most respondents agreed that medical error is one of the most serious problems in health care, and believed that there are relatively common. Most respondents also reported personal involvement with errors. Although virtually all trainees agreed that serious errors should be disclosed to patients, almost all felt that disclosure would be difficult, and only one-third of residents reported ever disclosing a serious error to a patient. Only about one-third of trainees said that they had received education in error disclosure techniques, although almost all said that they were interested in such training.