Dangerous Speech from Doctors

So, what is it with these laws that try to stifle doctors from speaking honestly with their patients about matters that concern their health? Going back to the Reagan years, ‘gag laws’ are popular with the same politicians that preach against ‘gummint interference in our health care’.

Mining corporations in Pennsylvania have legislated to put doctor’s careers at risk if they disclose the names of chemicals that have made their patients sick.

In Florida, pediatricians had to fight for the right to follow their best judgment in protecting children. Today, Medscape.com, reports that the First Amendment still protects us…

Florida chapters of national medical societies such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), along with several individual physicians, sued the state in federal court to block what they called a “gag law.” They argued that physicians should be free to ask patients, especially parents of young children, whether they own guns, and if so, to advise them about safe storage. The ultimate goal is to prevent shootings that occur, for example, when a child finds a loaded pistol in a desk drawer.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), which had lobbied for the law’s passage, unsuccessfully tried to intervene as a party in the federal case. It saw the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms at stake, as opposed to the First Amendment and free speech.

Louis St Petery, MD, a pediatric cardiologist in Tallahassee, Florida, and executive vice president of the state’s AAP chapter, hailed Judge Cooke’s latest ruling as a victory for preventive care.

“We were not out after gun owners’ rights,” Dr. St Petery told Medscape Medical News. “We were out to protect children. Pediatricians need to discuss [gun safety] issues openly to prevent children from getting killed.”

Government is flawed and corruptible, but when special interests use local power to pass bad laws, citizens can and must call on our Constitutional rights. Industry loves deregulation, except when it’s bad for business.

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10 thoughts on “Dangerous Speech from Doctors

  1. I had a doctor at the VA ask me if I owned a firearm.I didn’t think it was any of his business,but I told him I had carried firearms since I was 18 continuously in the military and law enforcement and was as competent with them as he was with a stethoscope.
    I have no children in my house and when my grandaughter visits,no gun is accessible to her.
    I thought the doctor was overreaching and said so-after all,I am not being treated for PTSD or any other psych problem-just your standard diabetes,cancer,etc.LOL.
    The NRA,for your information stresses and teaches firearms safety as well as markmanship-there is a whole non political dimension to the organization most non shooters are unaware of.

  2. I remember my first visit with the current M.D. He did the objective and came to the guns question. We’d already determined I was gay, and then the gun question came up. I looked at him quizzically and asked why the question was appropriate? His answer, if you had kids. I looked at him again and explained I had no intention of having any kids.

    I like the guy though – we’re both Italian-American, same age, lots of similar interests. So I can forgive the gun thing.

    • I’ve known gay people with kids-quite a few,in fact.So maybe he wasn’t out in left field.
      I got a hoot out of my VA doctor asking me if I had anything from Vietnam that bothered me so much,I couldn’t cope-this was maybe about 40 years after I came home-I said”nice time to ask”,but “no”.Aside from the Agent Orange diseases I have had and their complications.

  3. I waffled a bit between putting this comment here or on the thread with the FOX “News” psychiatrist blasting gubmint intrusion into liberty. Funny, here we have the NRA actually attempting to limit speech. Not just speech, but the speech between a doctor and patient, which is held to be confidential.

    This is a real, honest-to-goodness attempt to curtail 1st Amendment rights, which the Tea Party supposedly supports, and not a whimper from those stalwart Defenders of Liberty. What’s up with that? Is it possible they only want to defend speech that they agree with? And that contrary notions should be legislated away? Appear to be.

    It’s like the whole thing that’s going on in LA (Baton Rouge version, not La-La-Land) with school vouchers. One of the people interviewed thought it was fine to use $$ gubmint to support religious schools–but only b/c s/he took ‘religious’ and ‘Christian’ to be synonyms. OTOH, supporting Islamic schools, well, that’s just wrong, because that’s not a religion.

    Oops. Now I’m probably going to be told about how Islam teaches the repression of women, how other religions are persecuted in Islamic countries, etc. I’m not saying that Islamic schools should be supported by the gov; I’m saying that religious schools of any kind should not receive gov support. I’m saying that it’s not freedom if one group’s religion is supported and another group’s is not.

    This goes back to the Tea Party habit of supporting Assembly, speech, etc, as long as it’s for what they believe. Opponents, on the other hand, seemingly have no such rights, and the rights of opponents can be legislated out of existence.

  4. The champs at limiting speech are the politically correct progressives who sound more like “1984” every day.I’d say if your doctor KNOWS you have youngsters at home,then questions about firearms are appropriate if they are kept confidential.
    Obviously,if you tell your doctor you have a destructive device or a sawed off shotgun,then that doctor has to report it.

      • Alcohol and tobacco are indisputably health concerns-guns are much more indirect,kinda like the question-do you feel safe at home?

  5. OK, Joe, do you see what you’ve done here?

    Ninjanurse has provided a clear, shining example of how the RW, at the behest of the NRA, is attempting to legislate what doctors can or cannot say. This is a clear violation of the First Amendment, and a huge ethical violation of the doctor-patient relationship, which is confidential to the point that it’s beyond subpoena.

    And yet, you insist that it’s the Progressives who are trying to restrict speech. How do you square that circle? Because Progressives discourage the use of certain ethnic terms, or jokes that perpetuate stereotypes that hurt people?

    How is that comparable to legislation? Seriously. How?

    And no, the doctor does not have to report if someone has a sawed-off shotgun, no more than they have to report someone smoking pot.

    And the question about feeling safe in your home: that’s to find out about the behavior of the other residents within the home. IOW, are you being molested by a family member? Are you being beaten by your husband? Not, do you fear that people are going to invade your home? (Although there are certainly circumstances in which this may well be appropriate, but that’s really not the intent of the question, for the most part.)

  6. I guess the point I made was mainly about destructive devices,but you’d probably have to express a desire to USE said shotgun on somebody.
    And please drop the patronizing attitude-i damn well know what the “safe at home”question means.
    I can’t even begin to discuss political correctness seriously with you-it permeates heads like yours. I will give you this example:A student at a public college in CT stated that he thought people should apply for gun permits.His professor had him arrested in the classroom and the police took him to his house and temporarily confiscated legally owned firearms!!The student made the statement during a relevant class discussion.
    I didn’t defend the NRA position on this,did I?
    Patriotic displays of flags are attacked as “offensive”because some foreign national might get upset.BTW how about being beaten by one’s wife?It happens.I had a hilarious case like that-the US citizen wife beat the snot out of her illegal alien husband and when he took her to court she called us and let us know he had three drug convictions-we deported him.
    Read some novels by Cormac McCarthy-they are apolitical and not politically correct as they reflect certain times and places.If you get your mind past the phraseology you might find a great deal of value and some truths.
    I would really enjoy challenging you to a game of Jeopardy.You’ve been warned.
    BTW I belong to the NRA because they do the right thing on balance-I am not some slavish follower of them or anyone else(OK,maybe Maggie Cheung).

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