Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CBS Cites Me on Gun Violence

I recently learned that I was cited by CBS News in their 6/11/2014 story, "Is gun violence a public health issue?"

The article covers the growing desire by some to frame gun violence as a "public health" issue. 

I'm deeply opposed to attempts to "medicalize" issues that are more properly in the realm of law enforcement -- especially when many of those advocates appear to be attempting to leveraging the (real or perceived) prestige of the medical profession to push for more gun control laws.

The CBS story also noted the following debate within the medical community:
Earlier this week at the American Medical Association's annual meeting, a fierce debate erupted over whether the AMA's Continuing Medical Education program should offer a course on gun violence prevention. Some members support the idea of integrating medical professionals -- not only mental health workers -- into anti-violence efforts. But others worry that this may put physicians in a position of becoming social workers, which is not something there is time for in a busy emergency room or doctor's office.

Controversy has also flared around the idea of whether doctors should ask patients whether they keep guns in the home. Some doctors believe it's appropriate, just like asking about other factors, like smoking or alcohol use, that impact a patient's health.

Others consider it invasive or misguided. Dr. Paul Hsieh, co-founder of a group called Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine, argued in Forbes that it could "compromise the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship."

A majority of -- 58 percent in an American College of Physicians study -- say they do not ask their patients about guns...
I'm glad that most physicians still choose not to ask patients about gun ownership.  For more on this, see my Forbes piece from January 2013, "Why Doctors Should Not Ask Their Patients About Guns".

And I very much appreciate the exposure from CBS News!