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As a doctor, Iím going to keep asking about guns
KevinMD ^ | 8/9/12 | Suzanne Koven, MD

Posted on 08/13/2012 2:25:34 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows

Let’s set aside for the moment the question of whether it’s appropriate to talk about gun control in the wake of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado (though I can’t think of a more appropriate time to talk about it). And let’s not consider whether it makes sense that it’s legal to buy thousands of rounds of ammunition on-line in the U.S, without any background check (though could it, really?) And let’s not revisit that old argument about people, and not guns, killing people (though millions of “people,’ including evil and deranged people, do seem to live in countries with negligible amounts of gun violence).

What I’m thinking about today is the role doctors and other health professionals do and should play in preventing the 30,000 deaths and many more injuries in which firearms are involved every year in the U.S.

Behind the closed doors of my exam room, I ask patients many very personal questions: about their sexual behavior, alcohol and drug use, domestic violence, and other sensitive issues.

But there are no questions I ask–and I ask them routinely, especially of new patients–that meet with more surprise than these: “Do you own any firearms? Do you keep them locked and inaccessible to children?”

I believe the questions come as a surprise because people don’t usually think of gun ownership as something about which a doctor would or should be concerned.

But according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, homicide, suicide, and accidents are among the top three causes of death for Americans ages 0-54, and these deaths often involve firearms-over 30,000 per year. That’s seven times as many as die of cervical cancer, and nearly as many as die from pancreatic cancer annually.

It’s seems to me difficult to argue that health professionals shouldn’t be as interested in the prevention of gun violence as in the prevention of other causes of death.

Yet, doctors’ role in counseling patients about the potential danger of firearms is controversial, as expressed in this exchange. Some see such counseling as no different than speaking with patients about safe sex, smoking, and exercise. Some see it as an inappropriate intrusion of the doctor’s political views into the patient’s medical visit and an invasion of the patient’s privacy.

This latter view was in the news last fall when a Florida law, subsequently overturned by a federal judge, banned doctors from counseling patients about firearms, and would have imposed fines or even jail time on, for example, pediatricians who inquired about safe storage of guns in homes where children live.

In my own practice, most patients I ask about guns tell me that they don’t own any. This isn’t surprising because Massachusetts has one of the lowest gun ownership rates of any state in the U.S. (and, as it happens, the lowest rate of gun-related deaths).

And it’s possible that some patients don’t wish to discuss their gun ownership with me and choose not to answer my questions about it.

But occasionally I have a conversation such as I had not long ago with a man who lived alone and kept his loaded guns unlocked and accessible. Now and then his young nieces and nephews visited and it hadn’t occurred to him, until I asked, that his firearms might be a hazard to those children.

I’m going to keep asking about firearms, especially in regard to those at highest risk of harm from them: children, patients struggling with depression, patients with difficult family relationships.

As a doctor, why wouldn’t I?

Suzanne Koven is an internal medicine physician who blogs at In Practice at Boston.com, where this article originally appeared.  She is the author of Say Hello To A Better Body: Weight Loss and Fitness For Women Over 50


TOPICS: Government; Health/Medicine; Society
KEYWORDS: 2012; banglist; democrats; fascistphysicians; guncontrol; liberalfascism
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Arrogant enough for you?
1 posted on 08/13/2012 2:25:42 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows
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To: Slings and Arrows

Start by throwing out all the default tried-and-true arguments against gun control and what have you got left?...a rationalization for gun control.


2 posted on 08/13/2012 2:30:12 AM PDT by broken_arrow1 (I regret that I have but one life to give for my country - Nathan Hale "Patriot")
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To: Slings and Arrows

There are also about 30,000 deaths per year from auto accidents. Does she ask her patients if they have a car? And do they keep their keys in a locked cabinet?


3 posted on 08/13/2012 2:38:46 AM PDT by UncleHambone ("Laughter is America's most important export." - Walt Disney)
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To: Slings and Arrows

“As a doctor, I’m going to keep asking about guns”

You do that, darlin’,...and I will make damn sure I stay out of your office.


4 posted on 08/13/2012 2:42:21 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: Slings and Arrows
Arrogant enough for you?

Arrogance is quite common in the northeast...if the rest of the country would just understand that the people of New England know what's best; we would all be better off...

5 posted on 08/13/2012 2:48:07 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

As a patient, I’m going to keep asking doctors about their medical malpractice cases anytime they inquire about guns as part of my health history.


6 posted on 08/13/2012 2:56:13 AM PDT by TADSLOS (Conservatism didn't magically show up in Romney's heart in 2012. You can't force what isn't in you.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Take away our guns and the crazies will use BOMBS.

I’d rather dodge a bullet, (which, by the way, I’ve NEVER had to do in my 50 years, have you?) than dodge an explosion and shrapnel.

These anti-gun morons fear these scenarios that really hardly happen to normal, law-abiding citizens. It’s like wanting to outlaw lightning because they’re afraid they ‘may’ be struck by it someday. Yet odds are, they don’t.


7 posted on 08/13/2012 2:56:29 AM PDT by joethedrummer
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To: Slings and Arrows
As someone pointed out on another thread, a good return question from the patient would be “Do you have any malpractice claims against you? What are the details?”
8 posted on 08/13/2012 2:58:37 AM PDT by Truth29
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To: Slings and Arrows
Let’s set aside for the moment.... And let’s not consider whether it makes sense that it’s legal

your argument lost within the first 15 seconds

9 posted on 08/13/2012 3:04:08 AM PDT by Doogle ((USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: who knows what evil?

I lived in Massholechusetts for a while. Never again.


10 posted on 08/13/2012 3:06:37 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Just driving thru Massachusetts from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ gives me the creeps...


11 posted on 08/13/2012 3:08:33 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

...hey Doc, why do you support abortion?


12 posted on 08/13/2012 3:09:50 AM PDT by Doogle ((USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: Slings and Arrows

I’ve decided if my doctor starts asking questions about this, I’m going to flat out lie about it every time and worry about the moral implications later. All this stuff is the camel’s nose under the tent to genocide and it’s not happening to me if I can help it.


13 posted on 08/13/2012 3:12:03 AM PDT by MachIV
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To: Slings and Arrows

How many of those supposed 30,000 are gang bangers popping each other? Chicago probably has at least a third of the national total. Ask the doctor if they have a gun at home to protect themselves from a crazed patient that they just really pissed off.


14 posted on 08/13/2012 3:20:17 AM PDT by conservaterian (Sarah/DeMint '12-NOPE Cain?- Guess NOT. ABO & ABMR. I'm going Goode.)
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To: MachIV

It certainly has the potential to be stealth registration, at least.


15 posted on 08/13/2012 3:22:38 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: MachIV

“I’m going to flat out lie about it every time...”

That’s what my husband and I do now. If you don’t essentially lie.. I am not sure what they do with the “data”. Does it go off to the government? Are you put on some sort of “list?”


16 posted on 08/13/2012 3:26:35 AM PDT by momtothree
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To: Slings and Arrows

Arrogant AND illogical.

Darlin’, you’re entitled to express an opinion, just like everyone else; but the fact that you’re a physician does not make that opinion better than everyone else’s.


17 posted on 08/13/2012 3:27:15 AM PDT by Walrus (Restoring America starts today! Let's roll!)
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To: MachIV

I posted this on another thread some time ago. I went in for my annual checkup and was asked by my doctor if I have guns in the house. I got my doctor to quit asking me this stupid question by replying, “Nope, it’s hanging on the rack behind you.”


18 posted on 08/13/2012 3:28:00 AM PDT by 41Thunder (The SUPPLY of Government is GREATER than the DEMAND of the people)
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To: Slings and Arrows
Guns homicides in the US are under 10,000 per year. That's a lot but a drop in the bucket compared to deaths caused by medical errors. Those are approaching 300,000 per year. This doctor could make better use of her time helping her colleagues polish their skills.
19 posted on 08/13/2012 3:31:31 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Slings and Arrows

30,000 deaths from guns? Really?


20 posted on 08/13/2012 3:32:18 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (I just hate our government. All of them. Republican and Democrat.)
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To: momtothree

LOL...if you are posting here; you’re already on a ‘list’.


21 posted on 08/13/2012 3:32:45 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Vermont Lt

According to his own information, there were 554 deaths caused by firearms. Out of 118k unintentional deaths.

Yes, guns should be kept away from kids who haven’t been trained...but where the hell is this guy getting his info?

Obviously MV accidents are worse. But falling kills more. Should we repeal the law of gravity?


22 posted on 08/13/2012 3:38:53 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (I just hate our government. All of them. Republican and Democrat.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

And as a patient, I may start asking about your substance abuse; medical doctors have an extremely high rate of drug addiction. Also, doctor, are you involved in any Medicare fraud or other insurance fraud? What are you doing about depression?

Two can play.


23 posted on 08/13/2012 3:39:07 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Legalize Freedom!!)
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To: Vermont Lt

According to his own information, there were 554 deaths caused by firearms. Out of 118k unintentional deaths.

Yes, guns should be kept away from kids who haven’t been trained...but where the hell is this guy getting his info?

Obviously MV accidents are worse. But falling kills more. Should we repeal the law of gravity?


24 posted on 08/13/2012 3:39:16 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (I just hate our government. All of them. Republican and Democrat.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

“Do you own any firearms? Do you keep them locked and inaccessible to children?”


We where referred to a doctor that asked us this question. We went back to our normal doctor and asked for a new referral. Yes, I said it was none of his business and left.


25 posted on 08/13/2012 3:39:27 AM PDT by cableguymn (For the first time in my life. I fear my country's government.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Discussions about guns have no place in a doctor’s office. It is useless as far as preventing any deaths having to do with guns. Nothing bothers me more than to be filling out a questionaire for a medical exam and being asked do I own any guns. What a worthless question. What if I do. How is asking me going to prevent some kook from using one to harm another person? Tell me how!


26 posted on 08/13/2012 3:40:09 AM PDT by maxwellsmart_agent
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To: momtothree

Considering that even before Obamacare was voted on in Congress, Obama was calling for medical records to be digitized(centralized for easy government access across agencies) my guess is everything you tell your doctor will be, if not already, accessible by government beauracrats at all levels. If it currently isn’t, it certainly will be. Another individual responding likewise to my earlier post accurately pointed out that it can become a defacto form of registration.


27 posted on 08/13/2012 3:40:19 AM PDT by MachIV
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To: who knows what evil?

“... you’re already on a “list”.”

Then I am in good company. LOL!!


28 posted on 08/13/2012 3:41:21 AM PDT by momtothree
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To: Slings and Arrows

“(though millions of “people,’ including evil and deranged people, do seem to live in countries with negligible amounts of gun violence).”

Gun violence is just VIOLENCE. It occurrs everywhere. I wonder if the good doctor has considered possible reasons for any uptick in it anywhere? Probably not. She just wants to ban the damn things. She’s not interested in learning anything.


29 posted on 08/13/2012 3:41:51 AM PDT by TalBlack (Evil doesn't have a day job.)
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To: momtothree

Yes, indeed!


30 posted on 08/13/2012 3:45:50 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

The “good” doctor’s conduct may be unethical...

Discussion about guns in the exam room comes under the definition of a “boundary violation”

http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/2nd_Amend/boundary_violation.htm


31 posted on 08/13/2012 3:47:47 AM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: Slings and Arrows
Doc, it's been more than six months since the last time I had to shoot someone.

I store mine in the toy box. Doesn't everyone?

I have a medical use for mine. It's the only way I can relieve the itch on my trigger finger.

32 posted on 08/13/2012 3:47:47 AM PDT by stevem
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To: Slings and Arrows
Little Miss Perfect Thorne has been instructed in no uncertain terms that she is not to talk about guns at her new school. If a teacher, administrator or nurse asks "Are there any guns in your house?", her reply is going to be:

"You'll have to ask my Daddy about that. He told me to give you this reply and I'm going to obey him and not answer your question."

33 posted on 08/13/2012 3:48:40 AM PDT by Dr. Thorne (Don't vote for anyone who takes contributions from Goldman Sachs)
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To: Truth29

I get asked that a lot, which is appropriate.

I only ask about guns as part of the homicidal and suicidal interviews, and laws which would prohibit THAT are foolish.


34 posted on 08/13/2012 3:53:42 AM PDT by Jim Noble (Diseases desperate grown are by desperate appliance relieved or not at all.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

I can make guns.


35 posted on 08/13/2012 3:56:22 AM PDT by Berlin_Freeper (Siri: Paul Ryan 2016)
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To: TalBlack

Gun haters seem to think that as long as you’re not killed with a gun, you’re not really dead.


36 posted on 08/13/2012 3:57:58 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

what a twit. She may think she is smart but she betrays her ignorance with each sentence


37 posted on 08/13/2012 3:57:58 AM PDT by Nifster
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To: UncleHambone

“There are also about 30,000 deaths per year from auto accidents. Does she ask her patients if they have a car? And do they keep their keys in a locked cabinet?”

How about alcohol? How many houses have unattended kids and unsecured alcohol. Heck I don’t even know what the law is here in Texas?


38 posted on 08/13/2012 3:58:25 AM PDT by BobL (Cruz'd to Victory - July 31, 2012)
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To: Slings and Arrows
"As a doctor, why wouldn’t I?"

Because you don't ask your patients if they engage in sky diving, motorcycle riding, or if they own chain saws or a swiming pool. That means you are pursuing an agenda, and you therefore, a fraud, Doc.
39 posted on 08/13/2012 3:59:47 AM PDT by PowderMonkey (WILL WORK FOR AMMO)
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To: Walrus
but the fact that you’re a physician does not make that opinion better than everyone else’s.

Bears repeating. BUT Yankees in particular New Yorkers and Massholes DO think their opinions are better than anyone else's

40 posted on 08/13/2012 4:01:30 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: MachIV
In the near future under Obamacare, physisians will be forced to give patients questionnaires with these questions. Those answers, coupled with other answers about moods, well-being, stress, tension, etc. will be used to make a very biased assessment and then fed directly to NICS as a disqualifier for a clear background check.
41 posted on 08/13/2012 4:04:33 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: Vermont Lt

A little less than 10K are homicides and about 20K are suicides.


42 posted on 08/13/2012 4:04:51 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: who knows what evil?
Just driving thru Massachusetts from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ gives me the creeps...

I traveled through the state twice, once on my way to Maine and once on the way back. We didn't stop within the borders for any reason except to use the highway rest area. I wasn't willing to buy food, gas, or lodging there, but I was willing to p!ss on it.

43 posted on 08/13/2012 4:05:03 AM PDT by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: MachIV
I’m going to flat out lie about it every time and worry about the moral implications later.

What moral implications. To me these intrusive busybodies deserve as much honesty and respect as any agents of the state asking if I am harboring any Jews (or smokers or fatties or angry white males).

The road to totalitarianism is paved by the servants of control freaks.

What do you figure the odds that these morally superior healthcare professionals are asking these questions of the demographic that makes up the majority of gun violence statistics? *crickets chirping*

44 posted on 08/13/2012 4:06:12 AM PDT by Ezekiel (The Obama-nation began with the Inauguration of Desolation.)
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To: Oberon

Many times that number of deaths are caused by medical mistakes.


45 posted on 08/13/2012 4:08:38 AM PDT by CarmichaelPatriot
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To: mo
from the link you provided: "Doctor-patient sex is the most well-known and sensational example of a boundary violation."

So ask the Dr. if they ever have sex with their patient. They will most likely say "That is none of your business".
You may now wink, and exit the building.
46 posted on 08/13/2012 4:09:03 AM PDT by j_guru
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To: Oberon
I wasn't willing to buy food, gas, or lodging there, but I was willing to p!ss on it.

ROTFLMAO!

47 posted on 08/13/2012 4:09:31 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

A few things to keep in mind here, people:

1) Whatever answer you give is likely to be recorded and you have no assurance that your answer will stay in the doctor’s office and not make it to the police station, or to a social worker’s office. Or just into a government database accessed by anyone that might want to check.

(the following is my opinion...take it for what it’s worth)

2) The best answer is a polite “no”. Say that, and case closed.

3) The next best answer is a polite “yes”, and to say that you keep them locked up and they’re mainly for hunting.

4) The worst answer is “none of your damn business” as it will not only be recorded as a “yes”, but you’ll also be labeled as an unstable domestic threat.

5) An answer that’s almost as bad as above is to respectfully decline - as that shows you have guns, but you’re not interested in learning about gun safety (of course not true, but that’s how they see it)

Also keep in mind that doctors are now asking kids (as happened to me), and once this gets well-established, then it can easily be applied to school teachers and anyone else. In these cases, as in several other cases (like if an adult asks your kid if he’s spanked), you MUST teach your kid to lie (at the threat, sometimes legit, of being taken away from his parents) and have him prepared for the questions.

The only way to fight this stuff is through changing the laws, or simply not taking the kids to a doctor.


48 posted on 08/13/2012 4:12:31 AM PDT by BobL (Cruz'd to Victory - July 31, 2012)
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To: from occupied ga
BUT Yankees in particular New Yorkers and Massholes DO think their opinions are better than anyone else's...

NY'ers have absolutely RUINED New Hampshire...it is getting harder and harder to find people that were actually BORN here.

49 posted on 08/13/2012 4:15:55 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Slings and Arrows
Never tell anyone you own firearms. Just keep it to yourself.

I tell everyone I am a pacifist. ( A well armed, highly trained pacifist with lots of ammo )

50 posted on 08/13/2012 4:15:55 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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