Med Humanities 36:108-111 doi:10.1136/jmh.2010.003848
  • Original article

Reclaiming the morbidity and mortality conference: between Codman and Kundera

  1. Vinay Prasad
  1. Department of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Vinay Prasad, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University, 333 E Ontario St 901B, Chicago 60611, Illinois, USA; v-prasad{at}
  • Accepted 9 April 2010
  • Published Online First 23 July 2010


In recent years, a number of commentators have voiced unease about the direction and format of the Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) conference. Drawing on historical, literary and philosophical perspectives, and detailing the recent shift towards incorporating systems-based approaches to healthcare safety into the M&M, this article explores the nature and purpose of the M&M conference. It is argued that improving future health outcomes is insufficient as the goal of the conference. Instead, transcending hubris should be an endorsed objective. This paper aims to provide a definition and philosophical framework for the M&M conference.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.