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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2010 Sep;267(9):1477-81. doi: 10.1007/s00405-010-1288-x. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

'Case reporting of rare adverse events in otolaryngology': can we defend the case report?

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, Ireland.


The study of errors in medicine has proliferated since the publication of The Institute of Medicine Report 'TO ERR IS HUMAN' in 2000. Case nuances and process of care issues are valuable areas to explore if the goal is to provide the health care worker with the knowledge to avoid future errors. Meta-analysis and randomized controlled trials provide a large data base of evidence towards improvement and opportunities, but it is suggested that case reports can still provide valuable clinical information. The aim is to use the published literature to produce a series of rare harm case reports in E.N.T. The methods include systematic literature review. Journals searched in PUBMED were 60. Rare harm case obtained from the search were 5,322. Rare harm case reports not reported in any other form of evidence-based medicine were 40. Yes, the case report can be defended as it is an important pillar of evidence-based medicine.

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