Doctors Refuse to Stay Silent in Face of Latest Mass Shooting

Just hours before a November 7 mass shooting in a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA, the National Rifle Association tweeted that doctors who speak up on gun control should “stay in their lane.” The tweet was in response to a recently published position paper by the American College of Physicians (ACP), “Reducing Firearm Injuries and Deaths in the United States.”

The provocative tweet unleashed unfiltered fury from doctors across social media. For instance, according to The Washington Post, Westley Ohman, MD, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, reactivated his Twitter account after nine years to address gunmakers: “I fix blood vessels for a living. When you work at a major trauma center, that means fixing blood vessels shredded by bullets. My lane is paved by the broken bodies left behind by your products.”

The Annals of Internal Medicine, which published the ACP paper, invited doctors to speak directly to patients about firearm safety. For most doctors, the goal of such conversations is not challenging the logic of the Second Amendment, but rather finding solutions to an urgent public health crisis. ASH Clinical News covered this topic in the December 2017 feature, “Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis,” and earlier this year, ASH joined over 80 medical, public health, and research organizations in calling for increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control to conduct public health research into firearm morbidity and mortality prevention.

Source: The Washington Post, November 11, 2018.