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AMA News Room

July 28, 2014

AMA Response to Court Ruling on Florida's Gun Gag Law

For immediate release:
July 28, 2014

Statement attributed to:
Robert M. Wah, MD
President, American Medical Association

"We are disappointed by the court's ruling to uphold a Florida law that seeks to bar physicians from freely discussing firearm safety with their patients. This law poses real harm to patients as it interferes with physicians' ability to deliver safe care, and hinders patients' access to the most relevant information available.

"Behind the closed doors of an exam room, physicians routinely ask patients many very personal questions and provide medical advice about their sexual behavior, alcohol and drug use, domestic violence, and other sensitive issues. The AMA strongly believes the patient-physician relationship must be protected, because physicians provide appropriate treatment options based on open, honest and confidential communications with their patients

"Counseling the patients we care for helps prevent gun-related injuries and deaths, with studies showing that patients who received physician counseling on firearm safety were more likely to adopt one or more safe gun-storage practices. The political interests of state lawmakers do not justify infringing on the patient-physician relationship and stifling relevant medical discussions that are proven to save lives.

"In addition to putting patients in harm's way, the Florida Privacy of Firearm Owners Act infringes on a physician's right to free speech and puts physicians in the untenable position of risking disciplinary consequences or abandoning ethical obligations.

"The AMA will continue to oppose governmental intrusions into the clinical examination room and calls on lawmakers to leave determination of what constitutes medically necessary treatment where it belongs—in the hands of physicians and patients."

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Media Contact:
Kelly Jakubek
Public Information Officer
(312) 464-4443
Kelly.Jakubek@ama-assn.org

 

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