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Pediatrician: Doctors need to talk with their patients about gun ownership and safety

Pediatrician: Doctors need to talk with their patients about gun ownership and safety

Last week, the Washington Post reported on a Florida law – now being challenged – that would prohibit doctors from talking with their patients about gun ownership. In a recently published letter to the editor, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital physician Lena Winestone, MD, expresses her opposition to such a law, writing:

I recently cared for a 6-year-old child who found his parents’ loaded gun under their bed. When his older sibling attempted to take the weapon from him, the gun discharged and my patient was shot in the belly. He lost more than half his blood volume and was rushed to emergency surgery, where half of his stomach and small intestine and his entire spleen and colon were removed. He remained in the hospital for more than half of a year; he still requires the use of a colostomy bag and cannot feed by mouth.

My patient will struggle with chronic pain for years to come. I can’t help but wonder whether his pediatrician asked his family about gun ownership and proper storage. If I don’t ask my patients about gun ownership and provide them with appropriate counseling, I may not be upholding my oath to “keep [my patients] from harm and injustice.”

Previously: Pediatricians’ role in gun control: Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Photo by Westside Shooter

One Response to “ Pediatrician: Doctors need to talk with their patients about gun ownership and safety ”

  1. Stranger Says:

    Since 1975 the number of children under 16 injured in gun accidents has fallen from 505 to 2010’s 84. The reason is the gun safety campaigns put on by the National Rifle Association, which teach children who SEE a gun to STOP what they are doing and GO get an adult. 29 of the 84 fatal firearms accidents were a result of Law Enforcement officers who carelessly laid aside their duty weapons.

    Tell me, since 1975 what have pediatricians done to promote gun safety? How many dollars have you personally put in to promote gun safety? How many lives have your programs saved? Search as I may, I come up with nothing contributed but criticism of those who are doing the job and no lives saved. Perhaps it is time to put some money where the mouth is.

    Stranger

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