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Physicians to Appeal 'Docs v. Glocks' Ruling in FL

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 29, 2014

A Florida law prohibiting doctors from talking with patients about gun safety is upheld by a three-judge panel in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but an injunction blocking the law remains in effect.

Family physician associations say they will challenge a federal appellate court's ruling that upholds a Florida law prohibiting physicians from speaking with patients about firearms.

The 2-1 ruling issued Friday by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturns a June 2012 U.S. District Court ruling that struck down the state law – popularly referred to as the "physician gag law" or the "Docs v. Glocks law"—as a violation of physicians' First Amendment rights.

Mobeen Rathore, MD, president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Florida Pediatric Society, and a lead plaintiff in the suit, said physicians will appeal the ruling to the full appeals court.

"We strongly disagree with the 11th Circuit's decision. It is an egregious violation of the First Amendment rights of pediatricians and threatens our ability to provide our patients and their families with scientific, unbiased information," Rathore said in prepared remarks.

"This dangerous decision gives state legislatures free license to restrict physicians from asking important questions about health and safety that are vital to providing the best medical care to patients."

Doctors who break the Florida law could face discipline, including fines and loss of license. However, an injunction blocking the law remains in effect.

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7 comments on "Physicians to Appeal 'Docs v. Glocks' Ruling in FL"


Asok Asus (7/30/2014 at 5:01 PM)
Why would a physician focus on guns unless it was simply because they had an anti-gun agenda? There are far more dangerous items in households than guns, such as cars, motorcycles, bleach, antifreeze, farm equipment, ladders, poisons, chain saws, table saws, knives, fireworks, gasoline cans, lawn mowers, and improperly stored and cooked raw chicken. In fact, why would a physician ask about ANY of this stuff at all unless the reason for the visit was because of an accident with one of the above? Why would ANY of this be any business of the physician (or government) unless said item caused the injury being treated? I mean, what's the physician going to do with this information, say, gun possession? Keep records to turn over to the government? Lecture or teach gun safety because the physician is an expert about that? Does it actually serve the sick patient's interest for the physician to spend a chunk of their extremely limited face time asking irrelevant questions and gathering unrelated personal data instead of trying to actually focus on curing the sick patient? Isn't a cure why a patient sought out the doctor in the first place? What they are paying the doctor for? How would you like to pay a plumber, auto mechanic, or electrician to interrogate you about your gun ownership or your medical problems for that matter instead of fixing what you hired them to fix? FACTS TO PONDER : (A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000. (B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are120,000. (Calculation) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171. Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Now think about this: Guns: (A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (Yes, that's 80 million..) (B) The number of accidental gun death per year, all age groups, is 1,500. (Calculation) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188. Statistics courtesy of FBI >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.' >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR. From: Truth or fiction.com

Rfhod (7/30/2014 at 8:58 AM)
I don't understand the ruling. The patient can always refuse to provide the information about whether they have guns and refuse to discuss gun safety with their physician. It's not like the physician can force them to talk about it.

H Brownstein (7/30/2014 at 7:54 AM)
Physicians ask patient personal questions that can affect the patients health all the time. I f you are a gun owner what are you affraid of? The NRA restriction on free speech should not be allowed by the courts