How do documents in gun-friendly countries talk about gun safety

Samuel Mathis, MD, tries to cover a lot of things while testing his patients’ wellness. Nutrition, immunizations, dental health and staying safe at school are some of the topics on his list. The Texas pediatrician asked another question for the children and their parents: “Are there firearms in the home?”



Dr. Samuel Matisse

If the answer is “yes,” Mattis discusses safety courses and other ideas with families. “Instead of asking a bunch of questions, I often say it’s recommended to keep them cramped and don’t forget that young children can climb heights you would never have imagined,” said Mattis, assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Mattis said that some of his fellow doctors are wary of raising the issue of guns in a nation leading the nation. Over 1 Million Registered Firearms. “My discussion is more about responsibility for firearms and just making sure they take extra steps to keep them and everyone around them safe,” he said. “This works best in these discussions.”

Gun safety: a public health concern, not politics

Conversations about gun safety are more important than ever, not just with parents of sick children but with young adults and adults as well. Statistics explain why:

In 2018, the editors of . magazine Annals of internal medicine Doctors in the United States urged to Signing a pledge To talk to their patients about guns at home. Even today, at least 3664 I did that.

In 2019, the American Academy of Family Medicine (AAFP), together with other physicians and public health organizations, released a “A call to action,” Recommending ways to reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths in the United States. She said doctors can and should address the problem by advising patients about firearm safety.



Dr. Sarah Nosal

“This is just another part of health care,” said Sarah C. Nosal, MD, managing director of the AAFP, who practices at Urban Horizons Family Health Center, New York City.

Nosal said she asks about firearms during every childcare visit. It also focuses on patients with a history of disease depression or suicide Attempts and those who have been subjected to domestic violence.

Do doctors advise patients about gun safety?

2018 exploratory study It found from clinicians that 73% of the 71 who responded agreed to discuss gun safety with at-risk patients. But only 5% said they always speak to at-risk patients, according to Melanie J. While the vast majority agreed that gun safety is a public health problem, only 55% said they felt comfortable starting conversations about firearms with their patients.



Dr. Melanie Hagen

Have things changed since then? “Probably not,” Hagen said. Medscape Medical News. She cites some reasons, at least in her case.

One obstacle is that many people, including physicians, believe that the Florida Physician Drop Prevention Act, which prohibits physicians from inquiring about a patient’s ownership of a firearm, is still in effect. The law, passed in 2011, was repealed in 2017. In her survey, 76% said they were aware of it being repealed. But it seems that this awareness is not universal, she said.

In the 2020 report on Doctor share In the field of gun safety promotion, researchers note four main challenges: persistent concerns about the overturned law and potential liability for its violation; feeling unprepared worry that patients do not want to discuss the topic; And lack of time to talk about it during a hasty office visit.

But recent research suggests that patients are often open to talking about gun safety, and another study found that if doctors were given educational materials about gun safety, they would provide more advice to patients about gun safety.

Are patients and parents accepting?

Parents welcome health care providers’ discussion about gun safety, according to A study From the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Researchers asked nearly 100 parents to watch a short video about a firearms safety program designed to prevent accidents and suicides from firearms. The programme, which is still being studied, includes a discussion between a parent and a pediatrician, providing information about safe storage of guns and offering a free cable lock.

The parents, who are equally divided between gun owners and non gun owners, said they were open to discussion about gun safety, especially when the conversation includes their children’s pediatrician. Among gun owners, only 1 in 3 said all of their firearms are properly locked, unloaded and stored. But after obtaining safety information, 64% said they would change the way they store their firearms.

A different program that provided pediatricians with educational materials about firearm safety, as well as free firearm locks for distribution, increased the likelihood that clinicians would do so. Advise patients About the safety of the weapon, other researchers reported.

start the conversation

Hagen said some patients “rock it” when asked about firearms. She found that focusing on the “why” of the question could soften their response. One of her patients, a man in his 80s, was a prison guard. After he was diagnosed with depression, I asked him if he was considering ending his life. He said yes.

“And in Florida, I know a lot of people have guns,” she said. The state ranks second in the state, with more than half a million registered guns.

When Hagen asked him if he had firearms in the house, he refused. Why does she need to know? “People are on the defensive,” she said. “Fortunately, I had a good relationship with this guy, and he was willing to listen to me. If it’s someone I have a good relationship with, and I have these initial feelings, if I say, ‘I’m worried about you, I’m worried about your safety,’ that changes the whole conversation.” .

I talked through this patient’s best plan, and he agreed to give his weapons to his son to keep.

Likewise, she spoke with family members of dementia patients, urging them to make sure weapons are stored and locked to prevent tragic accidents.

Reading the room is essential, Nosal said. “A lot of times, we have a conversation with a parent while having a child,” she said. “This may not have been the conversation the parent or guardian wanted to have with the existing child.” In such a situation, she suggests asking the parent if they would talk about it on their own.

“It can be hard to know the right way to start the conversation,” Mattis said. The subject is not taught in medical school, although many experts believe it should be. Hagen recently gave a lecture to medical students on how to bring up the topic with patients. She said she hopes it becomes a regular occurrence.

“It really comes down to wanting to be open and just ask the first question in a non-judgmental way,” Mattis said. It also helps doctors remember what he’s always trying to remember: “My job is not politics, my job is health,” he said.

Among the points that Hagen made in her lecture on talking to patients about guns were:

  • Every day, more than 110 Americans are killed by guns.

  • Gun violence accounts for only 1% to 2% of those deaths, but mass shootings serve to highlight the issue of gun safety.

  • 110,000 firearm injuries annually that require medical or legal attention.

  • Each year, more than 1,200 children die in this country from gun-related injuries.

  • More than 33,000 people, on average, die in the United States each year from gun violence, including more than 21,000 from suicides.

  • 31% of American households own firearms. 22% of adults in the United States own one or more.

  • Weapons are 70% less likely to be stored unlocked and unloaded in homes where suicides or accidental gun injuries occur.

  • Action points: identify risks, counsel patients at risk, and act when someone is in imminent danger (eg unsafe practices or threats of suicide).

  • Focus on identifying adults who are at risk of inflicting violence on themselves or others.

  • Focus on health and well-being with everyone; Be conversational and educational.

  • Doctors should ask five important questions, all with an “L,” if firearms are in the home: Are they loaded? locked? Are young children present? Does the owner feel weak? did they know [educated] In gun safety?

Kathleen Doheny is a Los Angeles-based freelance health and lifestyle journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @DohenyKathleen

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