Research Revisited

  • Sylvan E. Stool


Stool SE, Randall P. (1967). Unexpected ear disease in infants with cleft palate. Cleft Palate J 4:99—103. In 1963, after completing a residency in otolaryngology and having previously completed a residency in pediatrics, I joined the staff of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as the first geographic full-time otolaryngologist, determined to make a career in pediatric otolaryngology. My second day at that institution, the Cleft Palate Clinic met; I at— tended, introduced myself to Peter Randall, and told him that I was interested in children with ear disease. I examined the 20 children who came to the clinic and found that there was a very high prevalence of draining ears, cholesteatoma, and middle ear effusion. My findings were very interest-ing—I felt I had found an otolaryngologic gold mine and that there would be enough work there to keep me busy for several weeks. Unfortunately, I also found that the clinic met only once a month. This left a large amount of free time, which at that time I had available, and so on Thursday mornings I would go to the operating room, to Dr. Randall's surgery. As he was operating, I noticed that during the palate repair he inserted a finger to fracture the pterygoid hamulus. I told him that this was a very bad thing to do because it caused ear disease. He asked me how I knew that, and I replied that my professor had said that plastic surgeons ruin the ears when they fracture the hamulus and alter the Eustachian tube function. Peter then questioned me as to whether my professor was always correct. As I reflected on this question, I thought he was not always correct but seldom in doubt.