Tag Archives: SAFE

Physician, heal thyself

On the one hand, we have SAFE (Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic).

SAFE is naming gun violence for what it is – a health threat of epidemic proportion – in order to rally the medical community to fight for the interests of our patients. It is time for us to bring the same urgency and dedication to the task of eliminating gun violence as we have to exposing other health risks, such as cigarette smoking.

In the past couple of weeks, SAFE has been popping up all over the anti-rights media.

Why your doctor wants to talk about guns.

I wrote about them back on September 15, 2018.

“Stanford doctors lead national effort to stop gun violence
If a virus, bacteria or cancer killed 35,000 people a year, there would be an outraged demand for a cure, they say.”

Wait. What? He’s sort of right about cancer. It doesn’t kill just 35,000 people per year. It kills 17 TIMES that many.

Do you know what else kills more people than guns?

The tricky part of estimating doctor-related deaths is that — oddly conveniently for someone — there is no medical reporting code to indicate that a… drug overdose, for example… was, “Oops. My bad.”

Per CDC’s WISQARS: Firearms-related deaths, all intents:

  • 1999: 28,874
  • 2010: 31,672
  • 2013: 33,636
  • 2016: 38,658

You are 6.47 to 11.38 times more likely to die by medical professional than by gun. Those medical professionals who arrogantly deign to tell us firearms are the problem.

Medical reporting codes for firearms — yes, they code that — break it down by handgun, rifle, shotgun, accident, suicide, and homicide. Perhaps they need to break down their own killings by surgeon, resident, nurse, homicide, and accident. (Although I know of one hospital… choosing to go there might be classed as suicide.)

As for other numbers…

Estimates of gun owners range from 80,000,000 to more than 120,000,000. If each firearm-related death represented a single, discrete owner, then a mere 0.03% — three-hundredths of one percent — to 0.04% — four-hundredths of one percent — of gun owners killed someone with a gun.

There are an estimated 1,000,000 doctors in the US. If we similarly assume — just for giggles — that each medical death represents one doctor…

Whoa. 25% to 44% — forty-four; not point 44 — of doctors kill.

Statistically, that makes doctors 1,466.66 times more likely to kill than is a gun owner. (Interestingly, I ran this same analysis twenty years and came up with close to the same ratio: 1,400 times.)

Maybe they should change their name to Scrubs Addressing the Doctor Infestation.

They could call themselves “SADIsts.”

On the other hand, we have Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.

DRGO educates health professionals and the public in the best available science and expertise about firearms, including gun safety and preventing injury and death through wise use and lawful self defense. We teach what science shows—that guns in responsible hands save lives, reduce injuries, and protect property by preventing violent crime.

DRGO has a little better understanding of the relative risks. I suspect they’re better doctors, too.


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