Forbes has just published my latest OpEd, “Why Doctors Should Not Ask Their Patients About Guns“.

My theme is that physicians should not routinely ask patients whether they own guns, because it could compromise the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship.

Here is the opening:

Should doctors ask patients if they own guns? Currently, ObamaCare bans the federal government from using patient medical records to compile a list of gun owners. But following the Newtown, CT shootings, President Obama issued an executive order clarifying that β€œthe Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare] does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.” The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) similarly encourages physicians to ask patients if they own firearms β€” in the name of protecting child safety.

As a physician, I consider this advice misguided. Instead, physicians should not routinely ask patients whether they own guns, because it could compromise the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship.

I cite Dave Kopel (who was one of many scholars who debunked the standard 43-to-1 flawed statistic about the danger of guns in the house) and also discuss the little-recognized fact that swimming pools are far more dangerous to kids than guns, yet no one asks for background checks for pool owners.

And many thanks to Dr. Matthew Bowdish for permission to quote him at the end of the piece!

(Read the full text of “Why Doctors Should Not Ask Their Patients About Guns“.)

   
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