Medical Community Continues To Treat Guns Like Disease

Imagine you live in a rough neighborhood for a moment. For some of us, it doesn’t take much. We’ve been there.

Now, living in this rough neighborhood, you’ve decided you need protection. You purchase a firearm so that you can defend yourself from the nasty elements running around your neck of the woods. Sure, you live there, but that doesn’t make you immune to their predations. Decent people need to look out for themselves.

Yet something happens. Nothing that out of the ordinary, of course, maybe just an injury or a late-night fever that you figure is a little more than something that can wait until morning. You head to the nearest emergency room…only to find yourself quizzed about guns.

That’s not a hypothetical, either. Not in New York anymore, apparently.

Previous efforts to screen patients for firearm injury risk have mostly focused on more targeted approaches. But those may have missed opportunities to identify people at risk who were in the emergency department for other issues.

The project will largely focus on developing a screening process for all patients who come to the emergency department. Clinicians will ask patients specific questions about having firearms in their homes and assess their level of risk. Data collected from each interview will be included in the patient’s electronic health record.

Northwell established a similar program in 2018 to universally screen patients for their risk of substance use disorder. Since its launch, the health system’s Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment program has completed 1.5 million patient screens across 18 emergency departments resulting in 23,000 brief interventions and 8,000 referrals to treatment services.

“As we have seen with SBIRT, we can make a difference for our communities by asking the right questions and providing the right education and connections to treatment,” said Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, assistant vice president of addiction services for the Northwell Health Emergency Medicine Services and director of the SBIRT program, in a statement.

Treatment? Are you kidding me with this “treatment” crap?

Owning a firearm isn’t a disease. Guns aren’t a virus. Having a firearm is a constitutionally protected right. That’s not something you treat, it’s something you should damn well celebrate because you live in a country that recognizes the individual right for people to have the arms to help secure their own freedom.

It’s not a medical condition.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I get asking that question to people who may be suicidal or be expressing symptoms of other psychological issues. It also makes sense to talk about guns to someone who presents with an accidental gunshot wound. In cases like that, it makes sense.

In other case? No.

Look, I’m going to suggest people respond to these questions in a way that makes my inner Navy Corpsman cringe. I’m going to tell you to lie to them. It’s none of their business if you’re a lawful gun owner or not. I doubt the criminals are admitting to having guns, either.  At some point, there needs to be some kind of pushback against the medical community that seems to think that lawful gun ownership is some kind of risk factor for disease.

It ain’t.