Wednesday, February 23, 2011
What does a doctors visit got to do with Gun ownership?
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, February 22, 2011 --
'Emergency room doctors, psychiatrists and pediatricians should not be able to ask a patient whether he or she owns a gun, a panel of Florida lawmakers said Tuesday, giving the OK to a proposal that pits two of the state’s most politically powerful lobbying interests – the National Rifle Association and the Florida Medical Association – against each other.
The Senate Criminal Justice Association approved on a 4-1 vote a bill to bar doctors from asking patients whether they own guns, unless the doctor believes a patient may immediately harm him or herself with a gun. If doctors were to question a patient about gun ownership, they would face substantial fines under the bill.
“It gives patients the right to refuse to answer questions that are inappropriate,” said Florida NRA lobbyist and former National NRA President Marion Hammer.
The bill, which originally would have fined doctors $5 million for asking patients about gun ownership, was stripped of its original language and amended to create a tiered fine system for violators. An offending doctor would be charged $10,000 for the first offense, at least $25,000 for the second offense, and a minimum of $100,000 for the third offense.
Hammer said some doctors are injecting politics into medical care and that when the NRA asked the FMA to address it, no action was taken. So, it began pushing for legislation.
“It’s about politics,” she said. “Pure, raw, anti-gun politics being imposed on patients when they are most vulnerable, when they are sick or hurt and need help.”
Doctors have pushed back though, saying the restrictions the bill puts on medical personnel hampers their ability to treat and protect patients.
Dr. Vidor Friedman, the president-elect of the Florida College of Emergency Medicine, told lawmakers that doctors often need to question patients in the course of treatment to ensure they are not in danger of being further injured. Particularly in domestic abuse cases, he said, doctors are often trying to ascertain whether a patient feels safe.
“I don’t care if you own a gun or not,” Friedman said. “The question is, is the gun still a risk to you.”
With children, doctors are also worried, said Dr. Louis St. Petery, a Leon County pediatrician who is executive vice president of the Florida Chapter of American Pediatrics and a member of the FMA. The issue, he said, wasn’t whether families owned a gun, it was whether children had access to it.
“Our issue is if you have a gun, let’s talk about how to properly store that gun so that children don’t get accidentally shot and killed,” he said.
But for several members of the committee, it came down to a matter of privacy. Lawmakers largely said they couldn’t understand why doctors would need to ask about guns, even if it involved a criminal action.
Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, who has generally supported gun control legislation, said he was looking for a reason to vote against the bill, but couldn’t figure out why doctors would need to ask whether their patients own guns.
“That would be a question more for law enforcement,” Smith said. “I don’t see why the doctor has to be involved in that.”
The bill (SB 432) also must pass the Senate Health Regulation, Judiciary and Budget committees.'
This isn't about safety, but an anti-second amendment rights agenda. And an invasion of privacy.
And I'm really wary of this quote, “It gives patients the right to refuse to answer questions that are inappropriate,” ...!!!!!! Does this mean the doctor could withhold care if the patient told him, "It's none of your business"? If you are wondering what patient would say something like that, I WOULD.
"The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." -Thomas Jefferson.
Actually the full quote is "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." -Thomas Jefferson
Dan Emplit WBFD