doctors and guns


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45lcshooter
January 12, 2013, 05:06 PM
http://m.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile2/55605823-218/gun-accidental-deaths-doctors.html.csp

Your paper seems obsessed with printing one-sided arguments in favor of banning firearms as a method of protection, although the Second Amendment guarantees that right for all citizens. Here are a few interesting statistics:

• The number of physicians in the United States is 700,000. Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 98,000, or 0.142 per physician.

• The number of gun owners is 80 million. The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is around 1,500, or .0000188 per gun owner.

Do the math! Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Remember, guns don’t kill people; doctors do! Shall we ban doctors, too, before this gets completely out of control?

I think you see how ludicrous this argument is! Why not deal with the real source of violent crime: people themselves, not the guns?

Rebecca Baker Bafford

Sandy

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Jorg Nysgerrig
January 12, 2013, 05:27 PM
This comparison was silly the first time it went around and it remains silly.

texasgun
January 12, 2013, 06:54 PM
we as pro-gun / pro 2A should avoid making those nuts analogies... all an anti-gunner has to respond is:

"I don't recall a medical Doctor going into an elementary school and killing 20 children"...

people go to the Doctor when they feel sick and need help. Not exactly the same with Adam Lanza swinging by....

gbran
January 12, 2013, 06:58 PM
My best friend is a doctor, he is also my doctor, he is also my best hunting and shooting buddy.

JohnM
January 12, 2013, 07:05 PM
Yeah.
One doctor I see loves to hunt and shoot. We spend more time talking about that than anything else. Another I go hunts some, usually just to get a deer and an elk once a year, but a couple of his nurses are real active shooters.

marv
January 12, 2013, 11:12 PM
My family guy tells me that if I ever decide to sell out he wants first chance at my guns. He doesn't even know what I have. Just that I have 'a few'.

ScrapMetalSlug
January 13, 2013, 12:55 PM
I think this is one of those straw man or red herring arguments I keep hearing about. Maybe we could look at banning dihydrogen monoxide.

beatledog7
January 13, 2013, 01:27 PM
we as pro-gun / pro 2A should avoid making those nuts analogies... all an anti-gunner has to respond is:

"I don't recall a medical Doctor going into an elementary school and killing 20 children"...

To which we respond, "Nor has a member of the NRA. The point is, it's not about the gun or the scalpel but about the person pulling wielding it. Scalpels don't cut by themselves, and guns don't spontaneously go off."

The correct analogy would be between the gun and the scalpel. Scalpels (or insert whatever medical tool) in the hands of highly trained doctors kill far more people than guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans.

KMatch
January 13, 2013, 01:38 PM
I think this is one of those straw man or red herring arguments I keep hearing about. Maybe we could look at banning dihydrogen monoxide.
While it's been know to cause many deaths per year, it is also well known for destroying many guns when exposed to this mix. Plus, since even the antis can't live without it, nothing will be done to ban it.

jfrey
January 13, 2013, 01:44 PM
The last time I went in for a checkup, my doctor was complaining about not being able to find enough ammo for his AR. I told him a couple of places to check and was going to get on before he saw the next patient. Go figure.

josiewales
January 13, 2013, 02:08 PM
Yea, I talk guns and hunting with my Doc. :)

Captaingyro
January 13, 2013, 07:32 PM
This comparison was silly the first time it went around and it remains silly.

Why?

I am an expert in safety and accident prevention in the airline industry, and there are established error management practices that large segments of the medical community refuse to adopt. The fact that you know doctors who are good guys (don't we all?) doesn't alter the fact that tens of thousands of Americans go to their graves every year because of medical errors.

The difference between gun deaths and medical deaths is that the gun deaths are splashed prominently over the nightly news, while the medical deaths go quietly, one at a time, down to the hospital morgue.

When a man (or woman) brings up a legitimate point like this, s/he deserves better than having his idea gratuitously dismissed as "silly". That's a tactic the Left uses. We should have better manners.

sonick808
January 13, 2013, 09:33 PM
my GP is a hunter and gun guy as well :)

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 13, 2013, 11:50 PM
The fact that you know doctors who are good guys (don't we all?) doesn't alter the fact that tens of thousands of Americans go to their graves every year because of medical errors.

That's not the reason it is silly.

When a man (or woman) brings up a legitimate point like this, s/he deserves better than having his idea gratuitously dismissed as "silly".

This point is clearly not legitimate and is just another ridiculous thing gun owners parrot.

First of all, let's review this claim, "Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 98,000."

What's the source of this? Anyone?

I didn't think so.

The source of the number comes from a report published in 1999 by Institute of Medicine titled, "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System." This paper claimed that between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths accidental deaths annual are related to medical errors.

These numbers are based on two studies on "adverse events" leading to death in hospital admissions. The first was in Utah and Colorado; the second was in New York. To reach that number, they took the two small studies and applied the percentage of adverse events that resulted in death against the 33.6 million hospital admissions in 1997. The low number resulted from using the first study’s findings and the higher number from the second study’s findings.

So, right away, we aren't talking about a percentage of patients killed by doctors. We are talking about a percentage of hospital admissions had a medical error in a hospital that results in death.

Other versions of the same thing use some numbers from the JAMA, but they include all kinds of other iatrogenic causes to bump the numbers up even more, although the only accidental ones they have total to about 27,000.

At this point, we know the number used for accidental deaths used in this is questionable. Beyond that, using the number of doctors is not appropriate in the equation as it assumes that all medical errors are made by doctors.

The numbers used are simply not valid. If one were being particularly pedantic, there is a mathematical error in the original post as well, but that is quite irrelevant at this point.

Furthermore, even if the numbers were valid, there’s not much accomplished by comparing medical accidents to guns.

While the healthcare industry certainly has safety issues that need to be addressed (and to be fair, this has been a focus for the decade or so since the initial report was released), comparing the number of accidental deaths caused by the healthcare industry to guns is pointless. The 18 million US healthcare workers make millions of decisions each day that could have an adverse effect on patients. Most of the time, they are right. Unfortunately, sometimes they aren’t. It comes with the territory when people are constantly doing things that impact someone’s health.

Moreover, the obvious utility of the healthcare system, flawed as it may be, is readily apparent to the vast majority of people. Just about everyone understands why we have doctors and hospitals. Not everyone understands the utility of guns.

Take a look at the current debate. You won’t find many people talking about the accidental deaths. Even though the number of suicides is included in the ~30,000 gun deaths a year, suicide isn’t even a big debate point. It’s the homicides people are talking about. A cute anecdote with flawed statistics isn’t going to sway anyone. Not a single person is going to look at that and say, “Gosh, we need to outlaw doctors!” or “Golly-gee, I suppose guns aren’t that bad after all.”

What the RKBA movement needs is solid arguments backed up by evidence and reason.

That’s why it is silly.

osteodoc08
January 13, 2013, 11:58 PM
As a doctor myself, I find your argument quite entertaining. Because in the same thought process we should ban alcohol, vehicles, etc. You may say that these are objects and not human, however, humans control them be it drinking or driving (or both).

Medical errors are made, but to compare it to gun control is beyond ridiculous.

Hey, let's ban diabetics from the candY and bakery isle. LOL

allaroundhunter
January 14, 2013, 12:37 AM
Spending his medical career as a coroner, ER surgeon, and radiation oncologist, my grandfather saw death at the hands of firearms, and scalpels.

The point you are making is neither here nor there. It is comparing apples to cars. When someone is killed by a gun rarely is it an accidental and attributable to the firearm. When someone dies during a medical procedure, sometimes it is the fault of the surgeon, but many times even if the surgeon does everything right death is still possible. If we do everything right with the firearm (obey the 4 rules), death is not possible.

Captaingyro
January 14, 2013, 09:48 AM
Furthermore, even if the numbers were valid, there’s not much accomplished by comparing medical accidents to guns.

While the healthcare industry certainly has safety issues that need to be addressed (and to be fair, this has been a focus for the decade or so since the initial report was released), comparing the number of accidental deaths caused by the healthcare industry to guns is pointless. The 18 million US healthcare workers make millions of decisions each day that could have an adverse effect on patients. Most of the time, they are right. Unfortunately, sometimes they aren’t. It comes with the territory when people are constantly doing things that impact someone’s health.

Moreover, the obvious utility of the healthcare system, flawed as it may be, is readily apparent to the vast majority of people. Just about everyone understands why we have doctors and hospitals. Not everyone understands the utility of guns.

Take a look at the current debate. You won’t find many people talking about the accidental deaths. Even though the number of suicides is included in the ~30,000 gun deaths a year, suicide isn’t even a big debate point. It’s the homicides people are talking about. A cute anecdote with flawed statistics isn’t going to sway anyone. Not a single person is going to look at that and say, “Gosh, we need to outlaw doctors!” or “Golly-gee, I suppose guns aren’t that bad after all.”

What the RKBA movement needs is solid arguments backed up by evidence and reason.

Easy. Sounds like we struck a nerve here (pun intended).

While the OP's suggestion that doctors are responsible for all medical errors, or that you can "doctor" the statistics to say that doctors are more dangerous than guns, is certainly hyperbolic, hyperbole is in no short supply on this site. Of course no one is seriously suggesting that we get rid of doctors, and most of us reading this thread recognize that.

While you may doubt the validity of those numbers, incidentally, many in the medical profession do not. For one surgeon's take on the issue, see this article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444620104578008263334441352.html

The value of the "44,000 to 98,000 deaths in hospitals attributable to medical errors" statistic is that it provides something the Left, and particularly the media, frequently neglect to include in their damning statistics on gun deaths: context. On the TV news and in newspapers, the public is constantly bombarded by raw numbers of gun deaths, with accidents, crimes, and suicides all lumped together. Among other things, it is inferred that guns in the home are extraordinarily dangerous due to accidents, and that children are the frequent victims.

Let me cite an example:
A PR campaign, "Asking Saves Kids", which is heavily supported and advertised in my town by one of the local hospitals, posits that "Countless tragedies have occurred when kids found guns that parents thought were well hidden or safely stored". This outrageous assertion is offered with no supporting facts, no numbers, and no comparison to how dangerous other common household objects (like bathtubs), are to kids.

Here are some actual numbers (source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Institutes of Health, 2004 Report on Unintentional Deaths in the US):

For kids under ten, firearms do not even show up in the top seven causes of unintentional death. For kids ten to fourteen the top seven killers are:

Motor Vehicle/Traffic: 922
Drowning: 138
Fire/Burn: 87
Other Land Transport: 87
Suffocation: 68
Poisoning: 47
Firearm: 35

So no, we're not going to start a "ban doctors" campaign, but we should be prepared to put numbers in perspective, and citing tens of thousands of deaths attributable to medical errors, many of which are acknowledged to be preventable, is one way to do that.

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