Published 4/1/2012

Proposals stir reader interest

Implant labeling proposal
Kent Jason Lowry, MD,
and William M. Mihalko, MD, (
“Will Uniform Information Organization for Arthroplasty Implant Labeling Become a Reality?” AAOS Now, February 2012) have outlined the tremendous work they have done through the AAOS Biomedical Engineering Committee to address uniform implant coating.

This is extremely important for us in the Canadian Joint Replacement Registry, which is requesting that manufacturers supply a barcode that is unique to their product but can be “read” by the end user and automatically go into the registry. This will avoid the need to manually enter lot numbers and other information, potentially reducing the incidence of input errors.

I think the major manufacturers are close to implementing this uniform barcode, which I hope will assist the Biomedical Engineering Committee in its goal to achieve uniform implant labeling.

One would think that implant manufacturers would be delighted to have an opportunity to demonstrate good corporate citizenship by improving patient safety. I hope they will respond in a positive way to this most recent initiative.
James P. Waddell, MD, FRCSC

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Residency fee proposal
I read the article
“Sell Those Residency Slots” by Joseph Bernstein, MD, in the February 2012 AAOS Now.

Dr. Bernstein points out that the opinions expressed in the article are his own. In response, these are also my opinions only. When I finished reading the article, I was overtaken by a deep sense of nausea. It helped me identify with our founding fathers who were outraged by things like the Tea Tax.

Imposing a 1 percent tax on future earnings of graduating orthopaedic surgeons is absolutely outrageous and actually indicates where our country is going. It demonstrates an increasing tendency to solve problems not by fixing them but by just raising taxes and generating revenue and then letting somebody else worry about where the money is spent.

As part of completing my MBA, I studied the graduating orthopaedic residents in the city of Philadelphia and interviewed all 32 graduating residents. I asked them about their age, their plans for a fellowship, and their debt. I was amazed to find that the average age was 36 years old and that the average debt was approximately $180,000, which would be paid with interest.

To suggest that such an individual should pay 1 percent of his income for the rest of his life is to literally beat the living daylights out of the horse that carries the heavy load. Why is it that when we face political or liability challenges, we blame ourselves rather than focus on getting to the cause?

The average medical school in Pennsylvania today charges $50,000 a year for tuition. When I entered Penn State in 1976, my tuition was $2,000 a year.

The 1 percent tax is not only an outrageous idea but also an insult to the orthopaedic residents who slave away to complete their training at already great sacrifice to their personal lives and families.
Richard G. Schmidt, MD

Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Setting Now Straight
The March 2012 issue incorrectly stated that the AAOS Leadership Fellows Class of 2012 authored the letter “On childhood obesity…” In fact, the Leadership Fellows Class of 2011—Michael A. Flippin, MD; Francois D. Lalonde, MD; Elizabeth G. Matzkin, MD; Mark P. Pallis, DO; Lalit Puri, MD; Marc E. Rankin, MD; Matthew Roberts, MD; J.R. Rudzki, MD; Michael Suk, MD; and Jennifer M. Weiss, MD—authored the letter. AAOS Now regrets the error.

If you want to set AAOS Now straight, send your letters to the Editor, AAOS Now, 6300 N. River Rd., Rosemont, IL 60018; fax them to 847-823-8033; or email them to aaoscomm@aaos.org