Florida residents have their saviors in the Florida legislature to thank for shielding them from the insidious “prying into personal lives” that doctors have shamelessly been inflicting upon patients.
Apparently, doctors have been asking their patients questions about whether they own guns, and – prepare yourself for a shock – if the patient answers in the affirmative, some doctors have actually been counseling patients on how to store the guns safely and protect any other people in the home, particularly children, from accidental harm.
Fortunately, some attentive citizens were alerted to this disgusting practice and enlisted the NRA in helping them to get the Florida legislature to pass, and the Florida governor to sign on June 2nd, HB 155, which prohibits physicians from making written or oral inquiries regarding firearms ownership or recording such information in a patient’s chart (unless the doc believes “that this information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others”).
It is a great relief to see that the physician-patient relationship — too long the purview of a suspiciously-dressed clique of highly-trained, dedicated professionals and their trusting patients, too long full of “prying into personal lives” as exemplified by questions like, “How do you feel?” “Does that hurt?” “What do you use for contraception?” and “Did anybody in your family ever have cancer?” — is at last being exposed and regulated by those people we all trust way more than we do our doctors, the elected representatives in our legislatures. My only regret is that some of the original provisions of the bill, such as the stipulation that a violation would amount to a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $5 million, did not make it into the final legislation.
Encouraged by the NRA’s success, other bodies are stepping up to protect the unsuspecting public from some of the horrifying practices that routinely take place behind the closed doors of the consulting room. The Tobacco Growers Coalition is promoting legislation to ban doctors from making inquiries about smoking, the GFFFA (Greasy Fried Fast Food Alliance) is working to make it illegal for doctors to counsel their patients about healthy diets, the NARL is drafting laws to ensure that doctors don’t counsel pregnant patients against abortion, and the Colombian drug cartels are looking for ways to prevent doctors from advising patients against using their special brand of products.
Sound too ridiculous to be true? OK, I made that last paragraph up. But read this.
Lest anyone misunderstand, this post is not about gun ownership, nor do I have anything against the NRA. This post is about unwarranted encroachment upon the sanctity of the central economy of the medical profession, the physician-patient relationship; and about what sort of Rubicon has been crossed when the paranoid intrusion and constraint represented by this bill is placed upon the good will and judgment of a doctor — and enshrined in the law of the land.