Dr. Gregory Engel of Seattle, Washington sticks to the facts when it comes to guns, unlike several medical organizations that have adopted the standard anti-gun rhetoric of the left.
When interviewed by NPR news about his recent talk to a freshman health class at Roosevelt High School in north Seattle, he told reporters he steered away from the political side of the debated over guns and focused on safety tips and information.
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO) supports doctors like Engel who refuse to be made informants for progressive politicians. DRGO’s physician are listening to what many people see as the unprofessional behavior of some physicians.
Fueled by DRGO and physicians like Engel some states, like Florida, have passed legislation to prevent medical professionals from abusing their patients’ trust by promoting a political agenda such as gun control.
DRGO is reacting to the concerted efforts of both The American College of Physicians (ACP) and The American Medical Association (AMA) to offer their weight in campaigns against gun ownership. Rather offer medical advice, both groups have advised their member physicians to pressure patients to give up their guns.
Engel told NPR that he realizes guns can be an emotional topic. He also believes that offering information to the public that focuses on facts rather emotionally charged rhetoric is what a physician should focus on. He said, “Doctors–I think we have a little cachet. We put the white coat on, I think we can say, `Look, this is about health. This is about health in Arkansas as well as in Washington. People are dying everywhere. And we all have a stake in safety.’”
He warns the students that even though mass shootings dominate the headlines, suicides account for the great majority of gun deaths in the United States. He noted, “Of all those who attempt suicide, nine percent die. But when you talk about people attempting suicide with a gun, 85 percent of those people die… I’m an emergency room physician and I have never treated a patient who comes in with a suicide attempt from a gun. They always go straight to the morgue.
An important point because suicide is the second leading cause of death for those aged 10 t0 24 in Washington State.
Dr. Timothy Wheeler, founder, and former director for DRGO is a retired hand and neck surgeon. He offers options to patients on how they should respond to their physician should they make guns a part of their patient profile. These are options include:
- Politely yet firmly refuse to answer the doctor’s question or the health plan’s questionnaire item about guns.
- If the gun question appears on your health plan’s routine health assessment questionnaire, file a formal written complaint with the health plan.
- If the health plan responds with the excuse that their questions about your guns are standard medical practice that they must follow, you can take the complaint to the next step—file a written complaint with your state agency that regulates health plans.
- If your doctor persists in asking intrusive questions about guns in your home, you can also file a complaint specifically against him or her with your health plan.
- Internet consumer rating sites have created another way doctors can be publicly rated based on service, attitude, and behavior. Some commonly used rating sites are Yelp.com, Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com, and RateMDs.
- If the doctor’s conduct is offensive, submit a complaint to the doctor’s licensing board.
- You can have a powerful impact on a doctor’s conduct by reporting the doctor. You have the right to submit a complaint to the doctor’s licensing board.
Number 7 made the list because of cases like the one in Florida in 2010 when Amber Ullman took her infant daughter in to the pediatrician for a routine checkup. Following standard AAP policy, the doctor asked her whether she had a gun in her home. When Mrs. Ullman refused to answer on the grounds of privacy invasion, her doctor terminated the mother and daughter from his practice.
The pediatrician’s abrupt dismissal of the mother and her baby from his practice touched a raw nerve in the state of Florida. In response, the Legislature passed the Firearm Owner’s Privacy Act.
Those who stand by the 2nd Amendment should laud actions like those by Dr. Engle and Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. Americans needs more influencers who refuse to be bullied by political agendas.