Input Needed for CT Surgery Practice Survey
If you are an Active, Senior, or International Member practicing in the United States, make sure that you participate in the 2019 STS Practice Survey. For more than 40 years, the Society has regularly surveyed the workforce regarding demographics, practice patterns, caseloads, pressure points, and other trends. All eligible members should have received an email on September 16 from Relevant Research Inc. with information on how to participate. It is important that you share your feedback by November 1, 2019. Results will be reported in the aggregate; individual responses will be kept anonymous. If you did not receive the email or have questions about the survey, please contact Natalie Boden, Director of Marketing & Communications.
Double Your Impact: Donate to TSF Today
Time is running out on the Society’s 2019 Surgeon Match Challenge with The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF). STS will match all surgeon contributions up to $100,000—but you must donate by December 31, 2019.
So far this year, the Society’s charitable arm has awarded $951,500 in funding to support surgeon-scientists in cardiothoracic surgery. Award recipients are investigating topics such as the predictive utility of machine learning algorithms in adult cardiac surgery, mitigating primary graft dysfunction via ex-vivo lung perfusion, and personalized therapy for esophageal adenocarcinoma. They’re training with experts to learn new skills, including pectus
excavatum repair, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, and complex pulmonary artery reconstruction and unifocalization. The funding also has allowed surgeons to provide underserved patients in Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria, Nepal, Rwanda, and Uganda with lifesaving surgeries.
In addition to matching surgeon donations, the Society covers all of TSF’s administrative expenses so that 100% of each donation is applied to award programs. Plus, TSF donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Help the Foundation continue supporting such important projects by contributing today at thoracicsurgeryfoundation.org/donate.
‘July Effect,’ Opioid Dependence Gain Media Attention
The “July effect” in cardiac surgery, the impact that prescribing opioids after cardiothoracic surgery has on new persistent opioid use, and the Society’s Legislator of the Year award were the subjects of three press releases issued by STS this past quarter. See page 14 for more information on the award, which was presented to Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA).
Research published online in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery in July showed that the influx of new medical school graduates starting their in-hospital training does not result in more medical errors for cardiac surgery patients. The study, by Sameer A. Hirji, MD, Rohan M. Shah, MD, MPH, Tsuyoshi Kaneko, MD, and others from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, found no differences in mortality, in-hospital complications, costs, or length of stay between patients who were treated in Q1 (July to September with the least experienced residents) compared to those in Q4 (April to June with the most experienced residents). The research generated coverage from Becker’s Hospital Review, MD Magazine, Physician’s Weekly, and Cardiology Today, among others.
An Annals study released in August found that the amount of opioids prescribed for patients after heart and lung surgery has a direct relationship with the risk for opioid dependency and “persistent opioid use” several months after the operation. Alexander A. Brescia, MD, MSc, and colleagues from the University of Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor determined that patients who were prescribed more than 60 pills experienced a nearly two-fold risk of chronic opioid use compared to those who were prescribed 27 or fewer pills (19.6% versus 10.4%). Media outlets including U.S. News & World Report, MedPage Today, HealthDay, and TCTMD covered the story.
Members Censured for Abstract Submission That Violated STS Code of Ethics
The Society recently sent a letter of censure to two members for violating Section 6.1 of the STS Code of Ethics. The members were involved with research on implantation of mechanical circulatory support devices and were among the authors who described their findings in an abstract that was accepted and published in the STS 53rd Annual Meeting Abstract Book. Subsequently, an ethics complaint was filed alleging that the abstract had significant amounts of text in common with an article that was published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery 4 years earlier.
Acting on the findings and recommendations of a Preliminary Review Panel, the Standards and Ethics Committee compared the text and found that substantial portions had been copied without attribution. Although the research and underlying data had been original work, submission of an abstract that plagiarizes the text of another violates the requirement of Section 6.1 of the Code that STS members “maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity.” The Committee also observed that Section 6.2 of the Code requires that “Members involved in the conduct of research should comply with all institutional and governmental regulations pertaining to such research” and that plagiarism is regarded as research misconduct under rules published by multiple US government agencies.
In determining that censure was the appropriate discipline to impose in this case, the Committee balanced the seriousness of the matter against several mitigating factors, including the members’ acceptances of responsibility, the fact that the underlying research had not been plagiarized, and evidence suggesting that the submitted abstract had been drafted initially by a junior author who consulted the previous publication as a textual guide while facing linguistic challenges as non-native English speaker. The Society’s policy on disciplinary action describes censure as follows: “A written judgment, condemning the member’s actions as wrong. This is a firm reprimand.” The Committee’s action to censure the members in question was reviewed and approved by the STS Executive Committee.
It was noted that this case should serve as a reminder that every member who serves as a co-author of a publication is responsible under the Code for research misconduct by anyone on the authoring team and should take appropriate steps to guard against it.