Monday, May 26, 2014

Mental health consumer here, occasionally medicated for public safety. My Doctor suggested I not buy a gun.

UPDATE: Because of the Isla Vista mass murder by a mentally ill man, I thought it would be useful to publish this essay again. My apology to those who have already read it. I wrote this precisely a year ago. Not much has changed. In fact, the gagging of doctors has gotten worse. 



Do you want the government telling your doctor what to say to you? Or what S/he must not say to you? Did Nancy Lanza's doctor ask her about guns?
Gagging doctors and scientists or giving them a script to follow seems to be a right wing hobby these days. Who do we thank for the proliferation of bills dictating what your doctor can or must say to you? Is it ALEC, the NRA, the Republican Party or the Religious Right
AMA Supports Blocking Illegal Florida Gun Gag Law 
CHICAGO - The American Medical Association (AMA) today filed a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the State of Florida’s attempt to revive a law preventing doctors from asking patients and families about guns in the home. The brief condemned government-sponsored censorship of private medical discussions between patients and physicians.
It is easy to see why medical personnel might ask clients about guns. Take a look at the leading causes of death per the CDC. Suicide is #10. Chronic depression and bipolar disorder can and do kill patients and others who know them.

I wonder if Nancy Lanza was afraid of her son? Many parents of mentally ill children live in fear. The Police routinely ask medical professionals if they are aware of guns in the home in the course of investigations, for their own safety as well as ours. Do we really want to tell medical professionals they cannot ask about guns?

Psychiatrists and Psychologists who have clients like shooter Jared Loughner and the Lanza boy are understandably confused. They are damned if they do report a scary or aged client and damned if they do not. "Why did you not know they were dangerous?" we accuse. They may get sued if they speak about a client's behavior or their guns. And sued if they do not. Add gun gag laws to the mix. No wonder malpractice insurance is so high.

I think the President has got this. Now let us all make a lot of noise and help him out!


The president reassures physicians that they can ask patients about guns in the home and inform authorities if they believe someone might harm others.
By CHRISTINE S. MOYER, amednews staff. Posted Jan. 28, 2013.
 President Obama’s multifaceted plan to reduce gun violence calls on physicians to play an important role in decreasing shooting deaths and injuries in communities nationwide.

Obama clarified that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors from discussing gun safety. He assured physicians that they can report credible threats of violence without fear of penalties from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule. He also authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the causes and prevention of gun violence, work that was suspended in 1996 after a National Rifle Assn.-backed push to block the study’s funding.
Dr. Denise Dowd

“We need to counsel our families about how to keep our children safe,” regardless of whether that involves bicycles, guns or swimming pools, said Denise Dowd, MD, MPH, a pediatric emergency physician and director of research in the Division of Emergency and Urgent Care at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Dowd said Obama’s clarification on this issue was needed, because some physicians were confused by language in the ACA that prohibits the collection of any data pertaining to firearm counseling, language inserted by pressure from the NRA.

Update: Kansas legislature proposing a Bill to prevent doctors from asking questions about gun ownership. Five other states have gag laws in the works. Why? 
 Sec. 9. No physician, other than a psychiatrist, shall inquire of any patient in conjunction with obtaining the patient's personal information and medical history, whether the patient has any firearms in such patient's home or on such patient's property and shall not require such information before providing treatment.