Top Medical Journal Editors: What Clinicians Can Do in the Face of Gun Violence — Physician’s First Watch

October 10, 2017

Top Medical Journal Editors: What Clinicians Can Do in the Face of Gun Violence

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD

The editors of the top medical journals in the U.S. have come together to denounce the epidemic of gun violence and offer steps healthcare professionals can take.

In an editorial simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and PLOS Medicine, the editors recommend that clinicians:

  • educate themselves and regularly contact their elected officials about this public health threat;

  • meet with their institution's leaders to find ways to work with the government at all levels;

  • ask patients about guns in the home;

  • not be silent.

They conclude: "The only thing that will change the world for the better is a group of people who believe that they can change the world. With regard to firearm-related injury and death, let's each be part of that group."

Reader Comments (4)

William M. Trolio, AASc, MLT, BSC, MT, CLT, MBA, FBA Other Healthcare Professional, Pathology, Bio/Data Corp/ Bucks Cty Medical Reserve Corps

for gun owners, annual safety trainig should be emphasized and checked just like immunizations are

William Pilchard, MD Physician, Ophthalmology, retired

Keep the good work. This problem will take time to curb.

David Foster, MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Oregon

The current tragedy was caused by a millionaire who descended into madness but who obtained his weapons legally though normal channels, I doubt that any type of legislation will effectively prevent a recurrence. No legislation will prevent a terrorist or madman from using his/her car to kill scores of people in crowded places, either. Also remember that the vast majority of gun deaths in the US have been related to suicides (not preventable), gang violence (not preventable), and stupidity/carelessness (not preventable). "Feel good" (but ineffective) legislation may satisfy some, but simply building the bureaucracy accomplishes nothing.

William DeMedio Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Private

Good advice. I will educate my patients on the availability of the NRA sponsored gun safety courses being given in my county. I will also ask more questions of my patients regarding their political beliefs and their propensity to mass murder of any type. Anyone I suspect of this I will confidentially report to authorities. The current FBI advice is:" if you see it, report it".

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