Article Text

Download PDFPDF
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}


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.

  • Morbidity and mortality
  • Ernest Armory Codman
  • definition
  • medicine and hubris
  • literature and medicine
  • philosophy of medicine/healthcare

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None.

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