View Full Version : Lawsuit aiming to overturn Florida's "don't ask" law

06-10-2011, 2:07 PM

(Note: I pasted the entire article because most Medscape content directed at providers is, for some reason, only viewable if you register. If it is viewable or if mods feel that this might upset Medscape, please feel free to pare it down. Also please note that bold and underline attempts to add emphasis are my own.)
From Medscape Medical News
Physicians Fight Florida 'Gag Law' on Gun Questions

Robert Lowes

June 8, 2011 A group of physicians and medical societies has sued Florida Governor Rick Scott and other state officials in a Miami federal court to overturn a new Florida law forbidding clinicians from asking patients whether they own a gun.

Have to pare it down.

Bottom has "Medscape Medical News 2011 WebMD, LLC"

and TOS says Proprietary Rights

You acknowledge and agree that the Service and information, content and software presented to you through the Service or used in connection with the Service contain proprietary and confidential information that is protected under U.S. and international intellectual property laws, including copyright, trademarks, service marks, patents or other proprietary rights and laws. Except as expressly authorized by us or our licensors, you agree not to sell, rewrite, modify, redistribute, create derivative works, or rent the Service of any information presented to you through the Service, in whole or in part.

You may look at the Service online, download individual articles to your personal or handheld computer for later reading, and even print a copy of an article for yourself. You may not remove any copyright notices from our materials. We reserve all of our other rights not granted in these Terms of Use. You agree not to access the Service by any means other than through the interface that is provided by us for use in accessing the Service.
// Librarian (long time subscriber to Medscape)

While I do agree with the fact that it shouldn't be a "zero tolerance" policy directed at sanctions, or as the original bill called for criminal charges, just for mentioning a firearm in a health record, there should be a valid reason for asking. Asking about firearms for an actively suicidal patient is a VERY good idea for example.

However, this group seems to overestimate physician's competency with respect to firearms. Most of the "training" that physicians get with respect to firearms during training-if it was anything like my own experience-amounts to little more than indoctrination into the "guns are evil and must be removed from society" sort of mind set.

I know many physicians who own firearms and all of us pretty much had the same attempts to indoctrinate-and either ignored or actively opposed it, at risk of offending an attending.

I'd posit that the NRA is better suited for teaching firearms safety, and allowing the law to stand with provision for removing the "zero tolerance" aspect might be the best compromise. With the majority of physicians having bought into the propaganda that guns are evil and gun owners have no idea how to keep their guns from killing others, combined with a government showing extreme interest in patient information stored in EHRs, I can fully understand the thinking behind allowing a patient to keep this information confidential.