Posted by YOS for LTS readers
Written by Cory Doctorow for boingboing.net
An NRA-lobbied bill in Florida will prohibit doctors, especially pediatricians, from asking patients about their gun-safety. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Rick Scott. Pediatricians routinely advise parents about seatbelts, bike helmets, etc, but this law will make it illegal for a doctor to offer advice on gun safety unless “it’s directly relevant to the patient’s care or the safety of others.” Comparable legislation is under discussion in North Carolina and Alabama.
As parents know, pediatricians ask a lot of questions. Dr. Louis St. Petery says it’s all part of what doctors call “anticipatory guidance” — teaching parents how to safeguard against accidental injuries. Pediatricians ask about bike helmets, seat belts and other concerns.
“If you have a pool, let’s talk about pool safety so we don’t have accidental drownings,” he says. “And if you have firearms, let’s talk about gun safety so that they’re stored properly — you know, the gun needs to be locked up, the ammunition stored separate from the gun, etc., so that children don’t have access to them.”
For decades, the American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged its members to ask questions about guns and how they’re stored, as part of well-child visits.
Really? I’ve never had a doctor ask about bike helmets, gun safety or farm safety such as around tractors, livestock or farm chemicals. These days you’re lucky if they have the time to fully ask about the condition that brings you to the office.
Scribe has thought about this and there is a way around the prohibition. Just don’t ask a question. Read off a list, “If you happen to have….” and then mention safety measures. But freedom of speech is an issue here. Doctors have freedom of speech just like everyone else.
Yes, doctors have had less time to say all they should be saying. Scribe thinks this is because insurance companies harass them into assembly line medical care: faster, less and most important: as cheap as possible.
God help humanity if an insurance company’s bottom line isn’t THE most important thing: even more important than life.