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Disability Takes on New Meaning

The term “disabled” conjures images of a debilitating injury or disease, but an increasing number of otolaryngologists are being disabled by age, burnout, or an emotional reaction to a poor outcome. Dealing with these issues in peers will be examined in a Wednesday Miniseminar sponsored by the AAO-HNS Patient Safety and Quality Improvement committee.

“The Disabled Otolaryngologist” will be presented from 10:00 am-12:00 pm Wednesday Room 30BC.

“These are things that touch everybody. This Miniseminar has a high level of relevance to every practicing otolaryngologist,” said Brian Nussenbaum, MD, Christy J. and Richard S. Hawes III Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

“I guarantee you that every otolaryngologist in the country occasionally feels burnout to some degree. I guarantee that everybody has felt horrible about a complication, and whether they realized it or not, they were ineffective for a few days because they kept running it through their heads,” said Dr. Nussenbaum, session moderator.

The Miniseminar will feature speakers who have expertise in those areas, as well as a speaker focusing on how they affect patient safety.

Robert T. Sataloff, MD, is a member of the AAO-HNS Geriatric Otolaryngology Committee who will discuss how aging has grown as an issue in recent years. He is professor of otolaryngology and chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

“I would not be surprised if in the next five years there is not some formal process that is developed,” Dr. Nussenbaum said.

Addressing burnout will be Michael M. Johns, III, MD, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

“Burnout is becoming much more common,” Dr. Nussenbaum said. “The Mayo Clinic has done a lot of work in this area. Doctors have many responsibilities, duties, and tasks, such as documentation in the EMR, rapid turnaround with testing, patient expectations, and increased work hours. There are a lot of things adding to burnout.”

Jo Shapiro, MD, surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, will discuss second-victim phenomenon, which is the psychological harm suffered by physicians when a patient has a poor outcome.

“Our emotions as doctors related to complications probably have not changed over time,” Dr. Nussenbaum said. “However, that is an area we are detecting more because we are in tune with that happening, particularly as our field has moved forward in terms of patient safety and quality improvement efforts.”

Julie Goldman, MD, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Louisville, will discuss how these issues affect patient safety. She is a member of the AAO-HNS Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee.

“Attending this session will help you become aware of and learn about these issues,” Dr. Nussenbaum said. “We will have an interactive discussion related to the aspects of being an effective practicing otolaryngologist that is pertinent to everyone’s practice.”

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