Friday, March 25, 2011

Florida Trying To Find Malpractice Docs Another Line Of Work

Do you own a gun? How many guns do you have? Do your children have access to guns in your home? Did you know that having a gun in your home triples your risk of becoming a homicide victim?

These are questions your doctor may ask you or your children as part of routine physical examinations or questionnaires. These are ethical boundary violations that violate privacy rights of patients and families.

Gun-related questions in doctors' offices are based on a medical political movement against gun owners. That movement is led by the American Academy of Pediatrics, although the AMA and other physician groups have launched similar efforts against gun owners.

Sometimes a doctor is right to ask a patient about guns in the home. A mentally disturbed patient who has expressed intent to do harm would be an example where such intervention is justified. But in most cases, questions about guns do not reflect a physician's concern about gun safety. Rather, they are intended to prejudice impressionable and trusting children and their parents into thinking that guns are somehow bad.

That political motive makes these questions ethically wrong. Any doctor who asks them is committing a form of unethical conduct known as an ethical boundary violation. And any doctor who commits an ethical boundary violation should be disciplined.

Patients who file written complaints with respective state consumer agencies are rare, compared to the number of patients whose rights are abused. Patients fear retaliation from their doctors and medical staffs. Those fears are not unfounded.

Patients/families have been verbally abused and chastised by doctors and medical staffs for refusing to answer gun questions. Doctors have even denied care to children whose parents have refused to be submissive to these ethical boundary privacy violations.

In reality, state agencies rarely do anything other than notifying a doctor of a complaint — creating an even more hostile environment.

Patients and families shouldn't have to suffer in silence. They shouldn't be intimidated or coerced into disclosing personal information about their gun ownership to politically motivated doctors.

Unethical doctors who abuse your trust to advance a political agenda against law-abiding gun owning families must be stopped.

Dr. Timothy W. Wheeler is director for Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Claremont Institute in Upland, Calif.

I can't begin to even imagine my reaction to a Doctor asking such questions, but something tells me my retort wouldn't be pretty.
With any kind of luck, Florida Bill SB 432 (it is out of committee and March 28 the voting will begin) will put some teeth into enforcing the law regarding wayward medical personnel so I don't have to think about these scumbags any longer. Not that the new laws would be all that harsh, mind you, as repeat offenders could remain at their present places of employment.

Every facility needs a well manned janitorial staff.

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