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Doctor Asks Teen If Family Owns Guns…while Treating His Tonsils

Posted on the 24 January 2013 by Real Talk @talkrealdebate2012

Mary Rita Insley and her son SamIn Wednesday’s issue of the Chicago Tribune, John Kass writes about a troubling case of infringing one’s privacy.  Sam Insley, 16, of Oak Lawn, Illinois was admitted to a hospital because of a tonsil problem.  He had an infected tonsil.  Sam was admitted to Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn on January 4th.  A resident and two medical students were questioning the teen on routine background information.  At one point during the questioning, they asked his parents to leave the room.  Thinking they would ask him personal questions about possible drug and/or alcohol use she obliged.

When the family arrived home, Sam told his mother that he was asked if his family owned guns.  The mother quickly became outraged.  She said she would understand if he were suffering from some type of mental or emotional problems.  However, he had an infected tonsil!

At first an advocate spokesman told the family that asking gun questions are “not part of our protocol.  It is not routine in any way.  And it’s not a standard practice.”  However, later that day the hospital had a different statement.  The mother said that she was told the hospital began asking the questions in October.  “This apparently follows a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics published October 18th recommending that pediatricians ask gun questions as part of patient history.”

The report site firearms as one of the top three killers of American children and reasons that questions about availability of guns would allow medical staff to tell parents to keep guns out of their homes or at least out of children’s reach.  “Child health care professionals can and should provide effective leadership in efforts to prevent gun violence, injury and death,” the October report states.

I think it is preposterous that these types of questions would be asked.  It really isn’t the hospital’s business if the family owns guns.  It has nothing to do with his tonsillitis.  I understand if the child had some type of mental or emotional problem they would ask the question, but in this case it wasn’t warranted.

What do you think?

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