Should Doctors Have Guns?by JC, MD | May 9, 2008
In the public news I’ve recently seen some stories about physicians having guns in their offices. This is in response to incidents where disgruntled or disturbed patients have come into physician offices and assaulted staff or physicians. In one instance, a pain and palliative care physician suffered a blow to his shoulder that continues to cause significant impairment and disability. Another incident involved staff being pushed to the floor by a patient. This has led some physicians to store firearms in the workplace.
I don’t have a gun in the office, nor am I a card-carrying NRA member. I don’t challenge those who feel they have a right to bear arms. I personally feel that if there were fewer guns around people would be safer. However, I understand that people need to have protection and they have this right.
I’m curious to know what my readers think. After all, running a medical office is really running a small business. Don’t small business owners, particularly retail store owners, have a right to protect their stores? Are doctors any different from other business owners?
If I were a patient, I think it would be kind of scary to know that my doctor who I am seeing has a gun in his office. I think it would be scary not because of the gun itself, but because of the fact that the environment could actually warrant firearms.
It’s kind of like going to the Emergency Room and seeing all of the metal detectors and all of the bullet proof glass around that is all scratched up. It makes you think twice about your surroundings and take a closer look at the people in the waiting room before you sit down. There is a reason why there is bullet proof glass in the ER waiting room — because shootings have actually occurred there!
I have yet to read an article about a physician shooting or killing a patient who was assaulting him in his office. I hope I don’t ever hear such news. But if doctors are starting to keep firearms then this is bound to happen.
I’m curious to hear what people think. Would you not see a doctor if you knew he had a gun in his office? Do you feel that physicians are similar to the Red Cross and that they should be neutral and conflict avoiding?
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