When faced with a medical dilemma, the right decision depends on how the relevant ethical principles are prioritized. Prioritization of ethical principles in a medical dilemma often depends on contextual features, such as the patient’s age, economic impact, and public safety. Firearms should be as much a part of medical research and patient education as alcohol and tobacco, seat belts and car seats, safe sex and condoms. The problem with firearm research and patient education is twofold: a). government funded research on gun violence is currently prohibited by Congress1 and b). states and wellness programs actually prohibit doctors and other health professionals from asking about guns or entering information about gun ownership into a patient’s chart.2 Medical research and patient education on gun safety is vital to the practice of emergency and preventative medicine. Research will produce data and information that can be shared with health professionals at conferences and workshops. This information can be translated into medical consultation and education, patient brochures and handouts that health professionals can share discretely along with advice on safe sex, seat belts, car seats, baby staircase gates and banister guards, and the safe storage of cleaning solutions.
Holub PG. Commentary: There Are Medical Dilemmas and Then There Are Firearms. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2016 Jul 01;14(3), Article 8.