Brian A. Shaw, MD, FAAP, FAAOS

AAOS Now

Published 11/30/2019
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Brian A. Shaw, MD, FAAP, FAAOS

Misuse of the Term ‘Violence’

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to the article “A Top-down Approach Is Needed to Address Lateral Violence Among Residents,” which was written by Alan M. Reznik, MD, MBA, FAAOS, and published in the October issue of AAOS Now.

Please reconsider your use of the term “violence” as used in the article about physician misbehavior in the October issue of AAOS Now. I read the article carefully and found no references to violent acts such as hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving, shooting, biting, or physical coercion. This misuse of the term trivializes acts of true violence, degrades our common vocabulary, and makes it impossible to have a serious conversation about important topics such as the one discussed in the article. Just because others are using this term improperly does not excuse our improper use and further degradation of this important term.

It is especially ironic that an orthopaedic surgeon would use this term when much of orthopaedic surgery requires managing consequences of violent acts, and when much of orthopaedic surgery itself, as my mentor John Hall, MD, used to say, is an act of “controlled violence.”

Brian A. Shaw, MD, FAAP, FAAOS, is an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.