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October 8, 1982

Examination of the Larynx

JAMA. 1982;248(14):1709. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330140023012

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To the Editor.—  The commentary "Why Can't Physicians Examine the Larynx?" by Harold C. Klein, MD (1982;247:2111) was long overdue. Although his call for rectifying this seemingly insoluble problem by instructing medical students in the use of telescopic laryngoscopy may at best be a remedy, it cannot serve as a panacea. After all, it takes the average student serving a clerkship on our service less than five days to become capable of examining the larynx with the mirror. The issue raised by Dr Klein is far too serious to be solved simply by switching instruments. The glaring deficiencies in the training of physiciains are a direct product of medical school policies that require a student to spend six or more weeks in psychiatry, for example, while leaving rotations in important subspecialties like otolaryngology entirely elective. At a time when more than 25% of emergency room workload is related to problems