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
See this: "The AMA's Epidemic of Deceit"
You may want to read this too: "The Social Hygiene of Gun Control".
Until they (reluctantly or willingly) turn over said records to the gun-grabbing police.
What with the democRATs constantly wailing the siren song of "free" government health care, you can bet that they can pull off a real coup in disarming the public with those doctors' records.
Yes, and if you knew what you were talking about, you would know that the SCOTUS has ruled that is not protected speech by the first amendment.
Protecting the public from free speech? Excellent.
Its protecting the public from unqualified advice from a person of presumed authority. That's why doctors are licensed in the first place.
Its also why their insurance companies will not assume liability for their advice on the use subject.
ÃÂÃÂ© 2000 by Joe Horn email@example.com
One of the best games in town is litigation, and litigating against physicians is even more popular than suing gun manufacturers. Physicians and their malpractice insurance carriers are well aware that litigators are constantly looking for new opportunities to sue. Let's talk about one of those new areas of liability exposure. Furthermore, if they fail to review the gamut of safety issues in the home, such as those relating to electricity, drains, disposals, compactors, garage doors, driveway safety, pool safety, pool fence codes and special locks for pool gates, auto safety, gas, broken glass, stored cleaning chemicals, buckets, toilets, sharp objects, garden tools, home tools, power tools, lawnmowers, lawn chemicals, scissors, needles, forks, knives, and on and on, well, you get the drift. A litigator could easily accuse that physician of being NEGLIGENT for not covering whichever one of those things that ultimately led to the death or injury of a child or any one in the family or even a visitor to the patient's home.
To engage in Home Safety Counseling without certification, license or formal training in home safety and Risk Management and to concentrate on one small politically correct area, i.e., firearms to the neglect of ALL of the other safety issues in the modern home, is to invite a lawsuit because the safety counselor, (Physician) Knew, Could have known or Should have known that there were other dangers to the occupants of that house more immediate than firearms. Things like swimming pools, buckets of water, and chemicals in homes are involved in the death or injury of many more children than accidental firearms discharge [ Source: CDC.] Firearms are a statistically small, nearly negligible fraction of the items involved in home injuries. Physicians SHOULD know that. So, why all of a sudden do some physicians consider themselves to be firearms and home safety experts? Where is their concern for all the other home safety issues that they DON'T cover with their patients?
Once physicians start down this path of home safety counseling, they are completely on their own. A review of their medical malpractice insurance will reveal that if they engage in an activity for which they are not certified, the carrier will not cover them if (or when) they are sued.
Consider a physician asking the following questions of his or her malpractice insurance carrier:
One of my patients is suing me for NOT warning them that furniture polish was poisonous and their child drank it and died. I only warned them about firearms, drugs and alcohol. Am I covered for counseling patients about firearms safety while not mentioning and giving preventative advice about ll the other dangers in the home, and doing so without formal training or certification in any aspect of home safety risk management? You know their answer.
How much training and certification do I need to become a Home Safety Expert Doctor? They will tell you that you are either a pediatrician or you are the National Safety Council. But, you don't have certification to do the National Safety Council's job for them.
Homeowners and parents are civilly or criminally responsible for the safety or lack thereof in their homes. My advice to physicians is to not borrow trouble by presuming to be able to dispense safety advice outside your area of expertise: the practice of medicine. Your insurance carrier will love you if you simply treat injuries and illnesses, dispense advice on how to care for sick or injured persons, manage sanitation problems and try to prevent disease, but stay out of the Risk Management business unless you are trained and certified to do it. For example, E.R. doctors do not tell accident victims how to drive safely.
Now, let's discuss the very serious issues involving the lawful possession and use of firearms for self and home defense, and the danger and liabilities associated with advising patients to severely encumber the firearm(s) with locked storage, or advising the patient to remove them entirely. Patient X is told by Doctor Y to remove or lock up a firearm so it is not accessible. Patient X, does as counseled and has no firearm available at close at hand. Subsequently, patient is then the victim of a home invasion and calls 911, but the police are buried in calls and don't arrive for 20 minutes during which time Patient X is raped, robbed and murdered. Anyone can see the liability issue here, particularly Risk Management specialists and liability insurance carriers.
It's just a matter of *when* and not *if* this will happen. Sooner or later, it will - if a home invasion takes place and Patient X takes Doctor Y's advice.
Now, imagine what follows this horrendous event. Who is to blame? The perpetrator is long gone, and even so, the Plaintiff's litigator will state that the perpetrator could have been neutralized by the appropriate lawful defensive use of a firearm, which *had* been in the home, but was no longer available to the deceased/injured because he/she followed a Physician's *expert* advice to render him/herself and his/her home defenseless against violent crime.
The Litigator will further argue that the Physician Knew, Could have known, Should have known that removing a firearm from use for home defense would result in harm to the patient if and when a crime was committed against the patient in the home, as any reasonable person would have surmised.
If one acknowledges the already dangerous general liability of home safety counseling and then adds the very risky practice of advising patients to disarm themselves in the face of the reality of violent crime daily perpetrated against home owners, condo and apartment tenants, it is apparent that the Physician is placing him/herself in a very risky position for suit.
It is my strong recommendation to Malpractice Carriers and those Physicians they insure to strictly avoid this high risk practice and reserve counseling for the area of expertise in which they are certified: Medicine. In my professional opinion, this is an emotionally charged political issue that Physicians and their Carriers should not be manipulated for whatever well-intentioned reason into taking the risk, which is considerable......
Physicians in doubt of the veracity of what I've said are encouraged to call their carriers and ask them what they currently cover, and to ask if this new counseling policy is covered under the existing policy. We already know what they will say: Don't borrow trouble.
Since retiring from the LA County Sheriff's Department, Mr. Horn has provided Risk Management and related issue Human Resource consulting. Among other firms, he has consulted to IBM, Gates Learjet, National Semiconductor, and Pinkerton International Protection Services.
Please. Go to Canada.
What web sites do you frequent?
How many cars do you own and what kind of mileage do they get?
Do you have friends that are smokers?
HOw many calories do you ingest each day?
Are you a member of the NRA?
See post 190, which I wrote BEFORE I saw your post. I kid you not.
When our ped asked, I said yes and then asked why are you asking? She said to remind parents about keeping them locked up safely. I had been ready for a fight, but I could live with the safety angle.
That's reasonable. I put that on the form and he didn't say a thing. I do live in gun-loving the South though.
So you are against licensing doctors? How about letting them give legal or tax advice? Would you go for that?
You sound like an anarchist. Please go to Somalia.
You will find that most surgeons are conservative, and almost all of the rest of the mds are liberals.
If my ped had said that for safety reasons I should remove all guns from our house, I would have ended the visit there and found another doc. And we love our guns up north too--don't believe ALL the hype (well, yeah, we sure have more libs here than you do, and they're scared of guns).
And yeah, a doctor should be able to give tax advice and legal advice. Foo on you if you take it. Only a liberal would think people are too stupid to know better.
Doctors are regulated in all sorts of ways. They may not practice law etc. They are licensed by the state to be doctors and the state can tell them what that license allows them to do.
You may not like it that doctors are licensed, but reasonable people see the need. Only an anarchist would think doctors shouldn't be regulated.
Doctor does something you don't like that harms no one. You want the gov'ment to come in and tell the doctor what he can and cannot say. That is wrong as the government has no moral right to do that - the doctor and the patient are not the government's property.
The doctor by accepting the license accepts the fact that the state can regulate what he does when acting in the licensed profession. He is of course free to find another job that is not licensed.
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