Doctors Orders

If you’ve had a checkup over the past ten years, you may have noticed your doctor (or their nurses) asking you or your kids if there are any guns in the house.

It is, of course, part of a politically-motivated campaign to a) try to compile “public health” data attacking our right to keep and bear arms, and b) an attempt by left-leaning medical organizations to use the prestige of the medical profession to bully people out of owning guns.

I’ve always answered “No”. I figure “backdoor to registration”.

Turns out there may be a better approach to take. 

15 thoughts on “Doctors Orders

  1. Screw your conspiracy theory crap; it is a legitimate question which applies to all kinds of medical concerns. For example, some of the side effects to certain medication can include becoming suicidal. Or behavior that is dangerous and outside the users control, like some of the complications documented about ambien which resulted in successful law suits. Because of the relatively high incidence of suicides in which firearms are used in this country as well as the incidence of accidental gun deaths and injuries, this is pertinent to medical practice.

    Paranoid much?

  2. DG, as usual, you’re full of it. Reality is that suicide is not driven by firearms, but rather by mental illness and substance abuse–about 90% of all suicides involve known mental illness of substance abuse. Only 50% of suicides involve firearms in the U.S., and it’s worth noting that suicide rates are higher in many nations (Japan, nations in western Europe) that have tight gun control. The depressed will find a way, sad to say.

    So if you want to deal with suicide, you need to deal with mental health and substance abuse, and what is noteworthy is that general/family practice doctors often admit that they really don’t understand either very well. That’s why there are psychiatrists and drug abuse counselors–and even they admit that they’re not that good at estimating a person’s risk to himself except in the most egregious cases.

    In other words, your doctor has about a 99.99% alpha risk in asking every patient about firearms. So it really makes no sense, medically speaking.

    That leaves only one option; asking patients about firearms really is all about a political move to eliminate them. Doctors who persist in asking about this need to be told the facts.

  3. Which facts are you referring to BB?
    Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study
    “Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.”
    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/10/929.full

  4. Then doctors should ask questions about their patients financial and retirement planning if they are going to ask about guns in the household.

    They have the same amount of expertise on both subjects. Not being able to retire or have enough money to live the rest of your life certainly can lead to suicidal thoughts. And both questions can be legitimately answered with “none of your damn business’.

  5. Emery, your paper is in effect the Kellerman paper of 1993, which has been soundly discredited. I believe it even uses the same data. There are a couple of basic problems with it.

    1. It doesn’t control for the crime rate in the area where murders occurred. Does a gun make a crime more likely, or does the likelihood of crime induce families to buy guns? The authors have a serious case of post hoc, ergo propter hoc in their “logic.”

    2. What kind of MORON would be surprised to learn that firearm suicides are more common when someone in the home owns a gun? Do you think I’m going to loan my pistol to my neighbor so he can blow his head off? Honestly….the researchers ought to have their college degrees revoked for even investigating this as if it were remarkable.

    For reference, overall suicide rates in 26 OECD nations are linked below. 17 of these nations have a higher suicide rate than does the U.S., and all of them restrict firearm ownership far more strictly than do we.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/suiciderate.html

  6. My wife and I have heard questions about gun ownership and similar questions aimed at domestic abuse since our kids were little. Our answer was always, “Irrelevant” to any question not directly related to our family’s health (and it should go without saying that you never let your children be examined – or even to answer a questionnaire – without you being present.)

  7. A firearm in the household increases the risk of suicide by firearm. Only a “moron” would argue otherwise. I would suggest the absence of a firearm makes the task (suicide) more difficult and less impulsive. Although I will concede that someone who is serious about suicide will do it with a butter knife if possible.

    Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury:
    All suicides
    Number of deaths: 41,149
    Deaths per 100,000 population: 13.0
    Cause of death rank: 10

    Firearm suicides
    Number of deaths: 21,175
    Deaths per 100,000 population: 6.7

    Suffocation suicides
    Number of deaths: 10,062
    Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.2

    Poisoning suicides
    Number of deaths: 6,637
    Deaths per 100,000 population: 2.1
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm

  8. “A firearm in the household increases the risk of suicide by firearm.”
    Hmmm. Are the following statements true of false?
    “A knife in the household increases the risk of suicide by knife.”
    “Poison in the household increases the risk of suicide by poison.”
    I’ll go one further:
    “Chewing gum in the household increases the risk of suicide by chewing gum.”

    Even you must see the folly of your reasoning at this point, Emery.

  9. Emery, you can cite those statistics all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that the method doesn’t drive the suicide rate, as I’ve demonstrated. When someone fears life more than death, they figure out a way to get it done. Rope, knives, tall buildings or cliffs, poison, water, whatever–and arguably a lot of these are less hassle than going through the background checks and cost of buying a firearm. That’s why most European countries have higher suicide rates than ours–it’s physically not that difficult to kill yourself if you’re determined to do so.

    No, if you want to deal with suicide, you deal with the reasons–mental illness, substance abuse, trauma–that leads to a man fearing life more than fearing death. And if your doctor doesn’t clue in to this, you probably need to find a new doctor.

  10. Emery
    why do you think there are crash barriers/guard rails around freeway bridge abutments? Because not all automobile related fatalities are accidents – and best of all your family gets the life insurance payout that they otherwise wouldn’t with a (firearm, knife, rope, drug, poison, etc).
    I notice that the automotive suicides aren’t included in your stats.
    Faulty thinking again Emery, your argument is made of the same weak gruel as DGs.

  11. It’s statistically true. Data suggest guns do in fact kill people. I’m not in favor of more restrictions. But I have no problem with physicians using this data for public health statistics. Although I do understand why most of you would consider this an incremental form of gun control which leads to the proverbial “slippery slope”.

    As an aside, why didn’t anyone bring up ‘the pool in the back yard’? Statistically anyone with a pool in the yard is more likely to have an accidental drowning and the home owners insurance policy would reflect that.

  12. Emery
    Again with the sloppy thinking- It’s statistically true. Data suggest guns do in fact kill people.”
    Its 100% false – guns Do Not Kill People – guns are NOT volitional instruments people kill people, whether its themselves or others.

    What college taught you your critical thinking skills? Ask them for a refund!

  13. It should be clear to everyone that people kill people with guns. Most Americans are not at significant risk from firearms, other than from the one that may be in their own home, which, being a personal choice, does not impact their public policy views. The fact of the matter is gun laws are being liberalized. MBerg has a nice post regarding MN gun laws.
    http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=54116

    Have a great 4th of July!

  14. I’ll weigh in as a retired family physician. I never asked about firearms in the home for the simple reason that the information did me no good as a doctor. Unless, I suppose, I was anti-firearm ownership and wanted to badger my patients. But I wasn’t. It’s not an appropriate medical question, period. Given the limited time available to discuss a myriad of other concerns it’s low on the list. If I thought a patient might be suicidal or lived in an abusive relationship, the question would be germane to the discussion. Medical care in the age of Obama reduces doctors to “providers” who are agents of the nanny state and are no longer advocates for the patients they used to take care of. I’m so glad I’m retired.

  15. As usual, EmeryTheAntisemiticSoci@list trots out debunked data (hoping nobody would notice) and spews non-sequiturs and false equivalence. And gets p0nwed! Again.

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