A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Physician Education

When was the last time you were asked by your physician if you had guns in your home? It is no secret that many medical and nursing professional organizations espouse anti-gun and anti-self defense agendas. Guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics even encourage doctors to ask your children about guns in their homes.

Today, I learned about Doctors For Sensible Gun Laws. This organization, founded by Dr. William B. Rogers is taking on the professional groups who have sided with the anti-gun lobby. A quote from a letter to the American Psychiatric Association:
"To treat firearms violence as a medical issue in an effort to push for further gun control is absolutely ludicrous, when all the relevant research in the field of criminology reveals a net benefit to society of gun ownership."
"As physicians, we must be advocates for our patients. Embarrassingly often, we have advocated "treatments" without full knowledge of the facts (therapeutic bloodletting comes to mind). And while lack of research and scientific knowledge might be a partial excuse, that certainly isn't the case with gun-control, where solid research has been done, but organizations like the APA ignore this research because it doesn't fit their preconceived ideas."

The doctors affiliated with Doctors For Sensible Gun Laws also discuss what a patient can do when a nurse or physician pushes his or her own political agenda regarding firearms. Known as boundary violations, these inappropriate questions and inaccurate declarations are highly unprofessional and take advantage of the therapeutic relationship that should exist between nurses, physicians and patients. For many gun owners, the ignorant accusatory condemnations that make up this type of interview destroys trust and fills the relationship with justifiable suspicion and even hostility.

Nurses and physicians need to get out of the gun control business. By allowing gun control advocates to be lead them around by the nose, they lose credibility among the patients they serve. I am blessed to be living in a free state, one that cherishes the second amendment, regardless of what happened in Louisiana's own San Francisco known locally as Nawlins. I know and shoot with many physicians and nurses. The professional organizations that seek to strip us of our rights do not represent them, or myself. Many of us refuse to join, much less pay dues to such a group. That though, will not bring about change. More than enough gun ignorant nurses and physicians are available to keep the funds coming to support those at the top of the bureaucracy of health care.

What will make a difference is educating doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. One by one. It seems a daunting task, but each time a gun owner submits to these types of interviews without effective protest, ground is lost. Print a copy of this form. Hand it to your doctor or nurse when they try to intrude upon your privacy and your constitutional rights. Doctors For Sensible Gun Laws also has a polite letter and an angry letter prepared as templates to mail your physician if such a boundary violation has already occurred. Do not simply avoid your physician or find another physician, educate the one you have. Until we educate health care providers in large numbers, political winds will continue to influence them, and as a result the care we all receive.

First, do no harm. What a concept. Doctors need to stick with it.

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Anonymous Anyheck said...

I live in New Orleans and have been to San Francisco. I'm of the opinion that San Francisco is California's New Orleans, rather than the reverse.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous gmcraff said...

I was pleasantly surprised this weekend.

While doing the safety orientation at my new rifle range, we orientees introduced ourselves and what we did.

Network Engineer (me).
Patrol officer.
Pediatrician. (!)

I restrained myself from asking immediately if his practice took my insurance, but it was a close thing.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous eprn said...

This is why I was never a big fan of the ANA, and I haven't given them a dime of my money since I left my last union job (where I had to be a member).

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I think gun violence in particular is a symptom of societal violence in general. I believe that the more violence a society accepts, the more will occur. These are not situations that can be addressed by the medical community.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year I took my son to the clinic for a school physical. I was shocked when the nurse asked him if there were guns in his home. I firmly told her that was none of her business!

I have instructed my kids that if asked they should say, "That is not a medical question.", and nothing more.

I am happy to see there are resources to help with this issue. Thanks for making them available to us.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, Xavier; it is good for undecided medical professionals to know about this group.

I'm somewhat a fan of Thomas Szasz, so I've always felt wary of the encroachment of what Szasz terms "The Therapeutic State" anyway, of which the anti-gun MDs are but a symptom.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Dr.Jerk-in-law, the one who thinks religion is a virus, is adamately against guns.
Had a clinic in NJ ask on their clint info sheet how many firearms we had in the house. I wrote in, "THOUSANDS", and there was no discussion of the matter.
Fortunatley, our family practice Dr. here in CO would like to get some time off to join us at the range. And saw nothing wrong with my buying the Mrs. a gun for her birthday. OldeForce

9:28 PM  
Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

My wife had a physical shortly after she bought her first gun, and she got asked.

From the sound of it she held her own and got the Doc to admit that she didn't know much on the subject.

Pretty long way from a liberal hoplophobe. Only way to win this war. One at a time!

11:31 AM  
Anonymous RockDoc said...

Xavier - I am a doctor (IM and Peds). I do ask patients if there are guns in the house, if I am seeing a pediatric patient... so that I can make sure they are keeping the guns safely away from children, and to suggest that they teach their children about firearms early and well. I ask about drain cleaner too - not because I oppose it, but because I want to make sure it is used and stored carefully! As you well know, there are a lot of idiots out there. -Dr. J.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Bob@thenest said...

Dr. J, (rockdoc) do you also ask about a gate to keep the kiddo off the stairs, safety plugs in the wall sockets, use of a child seat or seatbelts in the car, temperature of the hot water heater output, etc., etc., etc.?

Though I appreciate your interest in child safety, NONE of that is a medical matter, and if you asked me those questions I'd politely tell you so.

I'd have NO problem if you mentioned those issues, verbally or via literature, during an appointment. However, when phrased as a question, I find it unnecessarily, and inappropriately, intrusive.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Angela D. said...

rockdoc, you need to stick with medicine and stop pushing your personal agendas on your patients.

Asking how they store their meds is OK. It's related. Do you ask that?

Asking how they store their guns, how they store their lawn mower, how they store their cigarettes and how they store their aerosol cans is not related to health care. You may as well ask if they carry their groceries home in paper or plastic. Those plastic bags are dangerous, you know. Every year children die from them.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Roger said...

At my first visit to a specialist, I skipped the gun question on the new patient form. I kid you not, his second question, after how are you?, was "why didn't you answer if you had guns?"
I told him it had nothing to do with my medical issues or treatment.
He said "Well you know, thousands of people are killed with guns in homes every year."
I said "Well, unless I am wrong, more people die from obesity related issues than guns. I am obviously over-weight, why aren't you asking how many Twinkies or Ho-Ho's I keep in my house?"
It went downhill from there.

9:45 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Nice to know there's an island of reason in a sea of knee-jerk reactionaries.

8:42 PM  

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