Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Little Common Sense, Please

Wednesday is the big "Medscape" day - my inbox fills with all the latest news on every medical subject imaginable. HIPAA ... Statins protecting against certain heart problems ... you name it. Medscape's a great informatics repository ...

Today, I saw the following headline: Who Gets Shot? Firearms and the Doctor.

I cringed a little, and almost passed it over. But my curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked ... and found exactly what I was hoping I wouldn't find.

The very gentlemanly fellow in the video quietly urged generalists to "advise the family to get the guns out of the house, and to follow up on that advice." The reasons for this appeal: guns are the suicide method of choice, accounting for 60% of all suicides, with 80% of those being committed by white males. The speaker felt general practitioners should "advise" their patients, especially those who appear depressed, to admit whether they have guns in their home, and that there should then be some pressure leveraged against the patient to get rid of them.

I did a bit of research on the statistics. I found the following blurb provided by the National Institute of Mental Health:

"More than four times as many men as women die by suicide; but women attempt suicide more often during their lives than do men, and women report higher rates of depression. Men and women use different suicide methods. Women in all countries are more likely to ingest poisons than men. In countries where the poisons are highly lethal and/or where treatment resources scarce, rescue is rare and hence female suicides outnumber males."

I have to ask - should the GP's also ask their depressed female patients if they have bleach in the house? Or peroxide? Prescription meds? Or even nicer for the real wimps among us - a gas oven - or a bottle of Nyquil and a plastic bag? And if the poor hapless patient admits to having such dangerous items under their roof, should the physician then insist the patient "get rid of them?"

Remove guns - other methods are used. Removing guns is not the answer. A man who hasn't got a gun handy - may have a rope ... or a high bridge ... or - well, just about anything, if he's really determined.

I do believe that physicians should inquire about depression, and perhaps even do some gentle probing as to just how deep the condition may run - however, to tell a patient to get rid of their firearms is another thing altogether, and smacks heavily of the anti-gun lobby's influence in our daily lives. To interject this argument into the patient/physician relationship is pure disingenuity.

The gun debate does not belong in medicine.

Yes, people are killed by guns - some by accident, some not. The percent of those killed by accidents involving cars, high places and water are hugely higher. Are we going to take away personal transportation and stepladders? Are we going to stop depressed people from swimming?

Just how far into a person's home and private life do we have the right to go?

Although we have guns in our home, and are avid hunters, I'm not politically involved in the pro-gun movement. But I do need to say that I believe the trend toward the invasion of our privacy, and the subsequent micromanagement of our lives, is becoming quite frightening. It's the classic "frog in the pot" scenario ... put the frog in a pot of cold water, put the pot on the stove ... turn the burner on low. Ever so gradually, without Mr. Ribbit realizing the danger he's in: froggy soup!

Patriots have died in order for us to enjoy our freedoms, yet we're busily taking apart the very basis those freedoms were built on as we try to legislate our somewhat effeminate views upon an increasingly apathetic nation.

"I think that this isn't right, or that is dangerous, or such-'n-such shouldn't happen, or ... (yadda yadda - ad nauseam) ... so you shouldn't have the right to do it!"

If we expended as much energy on improving ourselves as we do on improving everyone around us, we would live in a perfect world ...



Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

1. Good comments.

2. You're right.

3. I agree wholeheartedly.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005 5:49:00 PM  
Blogger Moof said...

Gee ... Thank you! And I expected firebombs! ;-)


Wednesday, November 30, 2005 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger AB5SY said...

Excelent post this morning. Moof I have been a gun owner all of my life and a strong defender of our _RIGHT_ to own guns. We all know why our founding fathers wrote that right into our have the means of protecting ourselves against those working to disarm us........I sure hope gun grabber season starts soon. :-)

Thursday, December 01, 2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Moof said...

sure hope gun grabber season starts soon.

Gee William ... we have a tourist season here every year, but they still won't allow us to bag any ... 0.o



Thursday, December 01, 2005 11:22:00 AM  

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