Guns and pediatricians – a bad mix?

“Is it just me, or is this completely bizarre?”

My friend Al attached that note to an article he sent me about a controversy in Florida. It seems that Sunshine State pediatricians have a strong desire to include firearm safety discussions in their care of young kids.

I agree with Al, that does seem odd.

Most doctors will admit they’re not educated nutritionists, even though diet and nutrition play a huge role in maintaining good health.

So if the average pediatrician isn’t up to speed on nutrition, why would they feel they’re qualified to give gun safety advice?

In his note, Al (a dad to two young boys) continued: “I would find it very odd for my boys’ pediatrician to ask me about guns in my home. I don’t happen to have any guns, but when I take the kids to the doctor I want to know how their health is. I don’t think we need to talk about guns.

“Is it a doctor’s place to talk about SAFETY issues that aren’t directly related to health? If that was the case, then why not also run down a whole checklist: Can the kids reach the gas stove knobs? Are all medications and toxins kept out of their reach? Are there any animals in the house (pet snakes, spiders, etc.) that might be a danger to kids? Did you buckle them—and yourself—up on the way here?

“These may all be good questions, but I don’t expect or need to talk with my doctor about them.”

The issue in Florida is pitting pediatrician and medical groups against the NRA. The medical groups say it’s a first amendment issue (“Don’t tell our doctors they can’t ask about guns!”), while the NRA says it’s an unnecessary intrusion on privacy.

Florida, save yourself some anxiety. Al and I have figured it out for you. Talk health with doctors and gun safety with firearm experts.

There. That was easy.

Sources:
“Judge Blocks Florida Law Curbing Doctors’ Questions About Guns” NPR, 9/15/11, npr.org

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