Fear that a lost laptop, hackers or snooping workers could erase patient privacy has dogged hospitals and clinics in this era of increasingly digital communication. Now in Florida, doctors and nurses would face fines of up to $5 million under a bill that would make it a felony privacy violation to ask whether patients own a gun.
Outliers: Of privacy and firearms
Introduced by Republican Rep. Jason Brodeur—a healthcare consultant, according to the Florida House website—the legislation would make asking not just patients questions about gun ownership a privacy violation, but also directing such questions at family members.
Doctors, nurses and other medical staff would be prohibited from asking about gun ownership or the presence of guns in private homes. Information on firearms could not be entered into records by medical staff, under the law.
A policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics “recommends that pediatricians incorporate questions about guns into their patient history taking and urge parents who possess guns to remove them, especially handguns, from the home.”
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.