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Reply to the Letter to the Editor: Not the Last Word: Rethinking the Resident Research Requirement

Bernstein, Joseph MD1,a

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®: November 2017 - Volume 475 - Issue 11 - p 2825–2825
doi: 10.1007/s11999-017-5480-9
Reply to the Letter to the Editor

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, 424 Stemmler Hall, 19104, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Received August 8, 2017/Accepted August 14, 2017; previously published online August 19, 2017

(RE: Bernstein J. Not the Last Word: Rethinking the Resident Research Requirement. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2017;475:1948-1953).

The author certifies that neither he, nor any members of his immediate family, have any commercial associations (such as consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc.) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.

All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.

The opinions expressed are those of the writers, and do not reflect the opinion or policy of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® or The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons®.

To the Editor,

I want to thank Dr. Winet for his interest and comments regarding my column. I certainly endorse his aim to teach critical review and I agree with many aspects of his critique.

Still, I must quibble with his statement that medicine delivers a “truth” when there is successful treatment. Sadly, truth is neither necessary nor sufficient. We can have success without truth (witness, for example, the patients who survived their blood-letting); worse, we can have failure despite the truth.

Life, as the aphorism has it, is a sexually-transmitted condition that is inevitably fatal. That is to say, ineluctably, medicine will, in the end, fail to deliver a “successful treatment.” But that does not make its work any less valid.

For me, the truth towards which medicine aims is the detection and selection of that which is least false. Robust training in the methods of research is apt help in that quest—via the new knowledge produced by those who dedicate themselves to find it, and via the enlightened skepticism of those called upon to employ it.

© 2017 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins LWW