Florida Doctors Upset That They Can’t Harass Patients Anymore

Doctor Mengele is in

Doctor Mengele is in

A while back, we talked about the Florida law banning doctors from poking their noses into their patients’ guns.

Well, via Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, we get an update on that law.

The New York Slimes published a letter from a Florida doctor whining about the law, claiming it hampers her ability to do her job.  And she clearly has a future in politics if the tortured Clintonian parsing of her words is any indication:

As a primary care physician, I regularly ask patients questions that many people would consider rude, inappropriately nosy or just irrelevant in polite conversation.

And she conveniently glosses over the fact that the Florida law curbs rude, inappropriately nosy and irrelevant questions in doctor/patient conversation.  Some swine are more equal than others.


There’s one customary question, though, that I’m no longer allowed to ask.

When did butting your nose into a patient’s constitutional rights become “customary”?

The measure was introduced in the state Legislature after a pediatrician in Central Florida dismissed a mother from his practice when she angrily refused to answer a routine question about whether she kept a gun in her house. The doctor, Chris Okonkwo, said at the time that he asked so he could offer appropriate safety advice…

But the doctor who threw the woman out and banned her from the premises didn’t behave “angrily”?  His patients describe him as nosy, arrogant and discriminatory against special-needs children.  Oh, he also wrote down the gun information he got from patients in their medical records.

And, exactly what qualifications does that doctor have to offer “appropriate safety advice”?

The A. A. P. takes the position that guns are a public health issue and that pediatricians have a duty to ask about ownership because firearm injuries affect a large number of their patients.

Medical malpractice is a more relevant health issue.  I wonder how those Florida doctors would react to patients interrogating them about their mistakes and lawsuits and making records of their answers.

The academy recommends that parents not have a gun in the home. When guns are present, it suggests they be kept unloaded, in a secure, locked place, with the bullets stored separately.

Don’t you just love that logic?  They can spout advice that they aren’t qualified to provide, but anyone who says they shouldn’t do it is harming kids.

There’s no political agenda — we’re talking about the safety of children,” said Dr. Lisa A. Cosgrove, president of the group’s Florida chapter.

“I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.”

Because the new law directly conflicts with accepted medical practices…

Accepted by whom?

…some of my pediatrician colleagues have told me privately that they worry that not asking about firearms could put them at risk of a malpractice claim if the patient subsequently dies of or is injured by a gunshot.

You know, the gun-grabbers say that citizens who carry guns for protection are paranoid.  What, other than paranoia, could explain this bizarre unrealistic “fear”.  Perhaps a political agenda that doctors don’t want to admit to?

To alleviate this stress, I will provide tinfoil to any Florida doctor who needs to make a hat.

Psychiatrists routinely inquire about guns, too, and the law’s requirements potentially place them in a legal predicament.

Hardly.  As this doctor previously stated, “The law provides an exemption if the question is “relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety,” so there goes that argument.

At the moment, however, those of us working in a clinic or hospital will have to imagine we live in a place where gun injuries aren’t a public health issue and forget some of the questions we learned to ask in medical school.

What medical school?  What class?  What textbook?

Or is this doctor just making stuff up?

Instapundit received several comments via email:

UPDATE: Physician-reader Danielle Emery emails: “Most doctors don’t share the AMA’s agenda, either. Their constituency is comprised mostly of medical students, residents and academicians who have their membership paid for by someone else- which might also explain their leftward leanings. The rest of us find a great deal more benefit in joining the medical societies of our respective specialties. I’m a lifetime member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists but haven’t picked up a copy of JAMA in years- and when I did, it was mostly for the artwork on the cover.”

“ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Brant Hadaway writes:

Dr. Marcus gives the game away with the assertion that “[b]ecause the new law directly conflicts with accepted medical practices, some of my pediatrician colleagues have told me privately that they worry that not asking about firearms could put them at risk of a malpractice claim if the patient subsequently dies of or is injured by a gunshot.”

As a practicing attorney in Florida, I find this statement laughable. A doctor has no duty to ask questions about matters that are unrelated to reaching a medical diagnosis and prescribing treatment. Dr. Marcus tries to rig the duty of care issue with the phrase, “accepted medical practices,” but that falls far short of establishing a reasonable standard of care for treating anything other than injuries from a gunshot wound or, arguably, a pistol whipping. I won’t bore you with the causation problems inherent in her argument, which should be obvious.”

And Glenn delivers the coup de grace:

“Instead of viewing this law as an infringement on medical practice, physicians should see it as emblematic of how they’ve fallen in public esteem, and consider doing some self-examination. I don’t think that’s likely to happen, though . . . .”


From Days of Our Trailers: Another doctor gets an attack of the vapors over the Florida doctors-need-to-mind-their-own-business law.  This one conceals his membership in a rabid anti-gun cult while decrying the law.


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