Florida gag order for docs

A new law in Florida means doctors cannot “harass” patients about their gun ownership. Gov Rick Scott, who signed the bill into law earlier this month, says that the legislation is to protect the “privacy” of the patients. But since patient privacy is already protected under law and so is the right to bear arms, the new bill “mainly just protects patients from feeling bad or judged at their doctor’s office.”

I remember reading about the case that helped lead up to this bill. A woman was offended when her children’s pediatrician asked about guns in the home. She refused to answer because, as she said “whether I have a gun has nothing to do with the health of my child.” I can tell you, from my personal experience with shadowing a pediatrician, that this question is very standard and that guns very much impact children’s health.

Consider these facts from a suit filed this week:

65 children and teenagers are shot every day in America, and eight of them die; one-third of American homes with children under 18 have a firearms in them; and more than 40 percent of those households store their guns unlocked and a quarter of those homes store them loaded.

Anyway, the bill irritates me. Maybe it’s because I’m about to enter into training for the profession in question and the idea that my practices could be limited so ridiculously for political reasons just irks me. I don’t really like laws that tell doctors how to practice medicine, but I understand the reasons for them on occasion…if reasonable. This, however, is not reasonable.

You don’t want to feel bad or guilty or pressured by your doctor for owning guns? What about feeling bad or guilty about depression, about sex, about body issues, about other dangerous items around the home (swimming pools, electrical outlets, household chemicals, etc)? All of these things are areas regularly covered by your standard primary care physician and/or pediatrician.

So why guns? It probably has something to do with the NRA right-wing fear of Obama driven conspiracy to take away yer guns. But trust me, we don’t want to take away your guns. The conversations with your doctor are confidential. We just want to make sure your kids are safe.

So what do you think?


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