In a recent opinion piece, Brian Moench, M.D., president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) called for reasonable gun control and for a change to what he calls “our pathological relationship to guns.”
According to Dr. Moench, “Owning a gun for self ‘protection’ is both pathology and mythology” and target shooting “likely laid the psychological groundwork” for the mass murders in Newtown, Connecticut.
Dr. Moench, of course, did not address the “pathological” confidence shown in physicians and the “mythology” of the infallible doctor which lays the groundwork for millions of Americans to suffer serious harm and even death at the hands of medical practitioners.
Moench’s focus on gun violence diverts attention away from preventable medical errors which was found to be the sixth leading killer in America by a 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) study. IOM found that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die every year of preventable medical errors at a cost of between $17 and $29 billion.
Five years later, a study by HealthGrades, a healthcare quality company, reported that an average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002.
According to the American Association for Justice:
Further research has confirmed the extent of medical errors. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that there were 181,000 severe injuries attributable to medical negligence in 2003. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates there are 15 million incidents of medical harm each year. HealthGrades, the nation’s leading healthcare rating organization, found that Medicare patients who experienced a patient-safety incident had a one-in-five chance of dying as a result.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Medicine have found that even today, about 18 percent of patients in hospitals are injured during the course of their care and that many of those injuries are life-threatening, or even fatal. The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that one in seven Medicare patients are injured during hospital stays and that adverse events during the course of care contribute to the deaths of 180,000 patients every year.
Even though one in three Americans say that they or a family member has experienced a medical error, and one in five say that a medical error has caused either themselves or a family member serious health problems or death, surveys show that Americans vastly underestimate the extent of medical errors.
In spite of the tragic deaths caused by their profession, medical professionals refuse to even acknowledge the extreme danger that they pose to the public. Rather than doing no harm and healing themselves, physicians all too often turn their attention to much lower but higher profile rates of gun violence to divert the public’s attention away from their deadly actions.
Whereas gun-related violence is most common in poor urban areas, frequently related to gang violence and often involves juveniles or young adults, medical errors are committed by highly trained, well-respected, adult professionals. The result is that the high percent of physicians who commit serious medical errors goes unreported and unchallenged while physicians and the media attack largely rural/suburban, lower/middle-class, law-abiding gun owners.
Medical practitioners and the media lump the millions of law abiding gun owners with those who are involved in illegal acts of violence in order to achieve their gun control aims. They then demand that all lawful gun owners be denied their individual, constitutional right of gun ownership because of the illegal acts of the few.
At the same time, elitist physicians and the elite media give cover to medical practitioners who cause hundreds of thousands of deaths annually by ignoring the carnage that they create and they never demand that all physicians be denied their right to practice medicine because of the infractions committed by a relatively high percentage of adult, professional, medical personnel.
Dr. Moench and other members of UPHE are not the only physicians against firearms and the Second Amendment. The American Association of Pediatricians has long opposed gun ownership, supported the strictest possible controls on gun sales, called for the restoration of the ban on assault style firearms and has even gone so far as to ask children if their parents have guns in their homes.
Pediatricians argue that their only concern is the safety of their young patients; however, these same pediatricians fail to make their own safety records available to their patients and they carry huge amounts of insurance to protect themselves when they do cause serious harm. Furthermore, they never publicly demand that physicians who have contributed to the death or injury of patients be denied the right to practice medicine.
Gun-violence is a serious problem, but simplistic solutions proposed by elitist medical professionals who refuse to take steps to protect the public from the mass slaughter caused by those in their profession lack credibility. And their efforts are elitism and class warfare at their worst.