Skip to comments.Bill would bar doctors from asking about guns POLL TO FREEP AT LINK
Posted on 02/23/2006 6:47:11 AM PST by SWO
CHESAPEAKE - A pediatrician who asks a child's parent about firearms in their home could lose his or her license or be disciplined under legislation being considered by a Senate committee today.
The bill would prohibit health care professionals from asking a patient about gun possession, ownership or storage unless the patient is being treated for an injury related to guns or asks for safety counseling about them.
Sponsored by Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Martinsville, the bill sailed through the House by a vote of 88 to 11 last week. A message seeking comment was left for the delegate; he did not return the call.
The legislation is opposed by The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics because it blocks a common practice by medical professionals to inquire about gun ownership and safety when they go over a safety checklist with parents during a child's regular checkups from birth to puberty.
"We saw the bill but presumed no one in their right mind would put it through," said Dr. Leslie Ellwood, chapter president. "We thought it was such an unusual bill that anyone with common sense wouldn't pass it."
The national group is closely watching the bill now.
Some local medical professionals are incensed by the bill and the rapid way it is moving through the General Assembly.
The bill also is opposed by several medical groups, including The Medic al Society of Virginia and nurse associations.
The National Rifle Association supports the bill because it will protect gun owners "from intrusive, unnecessary questions from medical professionals," according to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Web site.
"We don't have an opinion or issue an opinion on guns," Ellwood said. "We don't say it is a bad thing to have around children. Our plan is always to find out how the guns are managed in the household so they are safe."
The national pediatric group puts out a guide on safety counseling for pediatricians under its injury prevention program.
The state-endorsed guidelines are used by not just doctors and nurses but by others whose jobs involve children.
Medical professionals are encouraged to use the routine safety survey to counsel parents about everything from car safety seats and child-proofing a house and backyard pool to bicycle helmets and fire safety once the child reaches the appropriate age.
Pediatricians use the checklist to curtail preventable injuries, such as poisoning by household cleaning products, not to be intrusive, say Virginia physicians.
"The bill hits at the heart and core of prevention and protecting our children," said Dr. Nancy Welch, Chesapeake Health Department director. "I am just amazed that it has gone this far and seems to be flying under the radar."
A board-certified pediatrician, Welch e-mailed three committee members from the South Hampton Roads delegation after being notified about the Senate committee meeting today.
Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake, has a policy of giving each bill a fair hearing before commenting on it, said his legislative assistant, Karen Papasodora-Cochrane.
Sen. Frederick Quayle, R-Chesapeake could not be reached for comment.
Sen. L. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, said she thinks it's a bad bill.
"I don't know how it even got out of the House because a person who is practicing the healing arts, if they really have a child's safety in mind, would ask that question and others," she said.
If parents think the question is intrusive, Lucas said they can always tell the health care provider: "It's none of your business."
THE POLL TO DATE:
Should the state disallow pediatricians from asking parents about gun ownership?
Undecided 1.88% Total: 800 votes
Reach Janette Rodrigues at (757) 222-5208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2006 HamptonRoads.com/PilotOnline.com
Thanks, have printed and copied. I've already dumped one doctor because of this crap.
Have an appointment with a new one next week. Going to be fun!
LOL! When they finally do computerize medical records nationally, they will have some real strange statisticial "studies." No one in America smokes, drinks or does drugs and everyone wears their seatbelt and condoms. We are finally perfectly healthy so nanny staters can all retire! : )
I am SO glad I sat the cup of coffee down before reading this one!
If you ever give a doctor knowledge of unlawful activity, they can report you and in some cases like suspected child abuse are required to report you to the police. Doctors are not priests and will turn over medical records if ordered by a court. They have been trained in a new humanism code of amoral "ethics" so if you expect them to interact with you in an ethical way by Western standards, they may not. You have to check on them and make sure they are not wackos/moonbats.
Be real careful that your kids understand that doctors (teachers, police officers, etc.) are not their best friends and blabbing unnecessarily or to get attention is not to their advantage. Your medical record will become a part of a national computer system sooner or later so keep it in a way that will look pretty to employers, insurers and cops.
If they really cared about safety, they would ask about all the other dangers to kids which are statistically more likely to maim or kill them.
If they really cared about gun safety, as opposed to having an interest in prying into my privacy, they could accomplish it by handing out safety information. IIRC, when my kids were little, I got a "fact sheet" about car seats, a "fact sheet" about immunizations, etc.
Can I play?
Should the state disallow pediatricians from asking parents about gun ownership?
Total: 1931 votes
Yes, it does.
If the data indicate that fewer households have firearms than do, the pediatric injury/death statistics will show the presence of a firearm to be proportionally more dangerous than it actually is.
That will be shouted from the rooftops every time a gun control bill hits a legislature. (along with the liberal battle cry: "Forrrr the Chillldrennnn!"
If even people who do no have firearms reply that they do, the number of owners will appear greater, the danger less, and the study will be buried.
I am more concerned when doctors and school authorities ask kids about things their parents own.
Uh huh. What was it Hillary said? "We will take things away from you for the common good."
And don't forget "If it will save just one life...".
Sorry, but you need to do more research.
If the interest was to save prevent harm, this can be done with a handout, no questions asked. There is no need to record the information if it is just about safety. And, like smoking, the questions are commonly unrelated to the problem at hand.
I have endured the antitobacco lecture, only to request that the doctor quit yapping about cigarettes and take a look at my injured leg. At 90 bucks for 15 minutes, I don't want to waste a chunk of that expensive time on unrelated data gathering to support someone's political agenda.
No. The pediatrician should be able to ask whatever he thinks is pertinent. The parent doesn't have to answer, of course, and can always choose another pediatrician.
Sorry, this bill is constitutionally obscene. Asking a question is in no way an infringement of my right to bear arms. It might be a stupid question, but anyone is free to ask stupid questions at any time. Criminalizing a question is just absurd.
You're unnecessarily confusing the issue. No one is defending the assinine question. However, the right to ask assinine questions must be defended.
Absolutely. I agree 100%. However, the proper response when asked a question that is none of someone's business is a simple, "That's none of your business." That's all it takes. The idea that we need to criminalize the question and incarcerate the person asking the question is constitutionally obscene.
This is an excellent bill. I'm in medical school right now, and perhaps I can offer some insight.
Insurance companies are basing doctors compensation on asking patients lifestyle questions and putting these answers in medical records. In some cases (diet, exercise, tobacco, alcohol use) such questions are helpful medically. In others - The "gun" question is one such case - they are not. The reason it even came into play is probably as a result of liberals in management at said insurance companies.
Furthermore, the entire medical establishment has taken a hard turn to the left somewhere along the line. While I'm not sure if this is true of practicing physicians, the AMA, and state medical societies it certainly seems true here in academic medicine.
So though it might seem a bit obscure, such a bill is actually necessary.
It is about a question being asked and the answer recorded in what is a permanent file which follows you everywhere.
Getting something straightened out after it gets in there is next to impossible.
If you refuse to answer, that is taken as an answer in the affirmative, and that is RECORDED.
THERE IS NO WAY TO PREVENT THAT OTHER THAN STOPPING THE QUESTION FROM BEING ASKED. THE DATA WILL BE IN YOUR RECORD OTHERWISE.
The only time the question is justified is if there is a firearm related injury involved, period.
Which is why even incorrect medical entries are assumed to be correct.
Not good advice in my opinion. IMHO, and speaking not only as being married to a woman in the medical field but as the father of a 12 year old who had heart surgery when she was 10, politics has nothing to do with medicine. When someone's cutting on a loved one, you want the absolute most competent professional present, and politics doesn't make good doctors.
I know full good and well that the surgeon who did my daughter's operation is a flaming lib, but I don't give a damn. He's without a doubt the best surgeon in his field, in this area, and I considered it a huge boon and favor that he took the time to perform a fairly routine repair, when most of his work is typically much more lucrative pedi-transplants.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.