• Medical ethics;
  • education;
  • case-based learning;
  • otolaryngology;
  • Level of Evidence: 2c



To create a case-based curriculum designed to teach and discuss the tenets of clinical medical ethics within an otolaryngology department.

Study Design:

Survey-based study in a single-institution, academic otolaryngology department.


Case-based departmental ethics grand rounds were implemented on a quarterly basis within an academic department of otolaryngology. One-hour sessions were designed to use challenging cases volunteered by clinicians within the department to create a forum for discussion and education about clinical medical ethics. A four-question satisfaction survey was administered to participating clinicians to measure the impact of the program.


Five grand rounds were held over 16 months from 2009 to 2011, with four to six cases presented per session. Sessions were well attended and received, with broad coverage of topics and lively discussions. The mean survey score was 18 (median, 19; standard deviation, 2) out of a maximum possible score of 20. When asked if the sessions helped to advance their skills and comfort within the field of medical ethics, 100% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed. A total of 86% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the sessions would change how they practiced medicine in a way that would benefit their patients.


It is feasible to successfully implement case-based ethics grand rounds within an otolaryngology department. Participants demonstrated a gratifying level of approval, and a stated desire to implement the principles learned within their clinical practice.