Published January 17, 2013
I totally disagree with the White House in making the gun control fight a “health problem.”
And in classifying it as so – trying to interject doctors into this debate – by suggesting they ask their patients if they have guns in their homes and if so, what kind.
One of the 23 executive actions Obama approved Wednesday was to "clarify" that the federal health care overhaul "does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."
An overview of the plan said "we should never ask doctors and other health care providers to turn a blind eye to the risks posed by guns in the wrong hands."
Coupled with the language on asking patients about guns was a decision to "clarify" that no federal law prevents doctors from warning law enforcement about "direct and credible threats of violence."
Physicians are already overwhelmed with bureaucratic rules and regulations that they are responsible for, which continues to limit their ability to practice medicine.
There are many legitimate health problems, Mr. President, that doctors and our government need to deal with head on: For example, reducing the smoking rates among teenagers, having more comprehensive prevention for teen drug abuse, creating better venues for mental health patients to get access to long-term care, dealing with prescription fraud – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
To ask doctors to collect data or intimidate law-abiding citizens who feel strongly about their second amendment, is not the role of a physician.
Doctors and nurses are already great advocates of child abuse, spousal abuse and identifying women with postpartum depression. Your own template of the health care reform act, is predicated on preventing obesity and having better outcomes in our hospitals and clinics.
So, you see, Mr. President, we are just too busy to become a regulatory line in your gun control debate.
I respectfully agree with many of the recommended provisions that the federal government is trying to implement in order to control gun violence. I am also a father of young children, and as an obstetrician, my whole word is dedicated to children’s health. But unfortunately, making this a health problem, is just the wrong choice of words.