boundary violations

What to do when your doctor asks about guns by Dr. Timothy Wheeler

Article Type: 
Published Date: 
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Have you had the experience of going to your doctor for a particular problem, let’s say headaches, and been surprised by the doctor asking you about a completely unrelated subject — whether you have a gun in your home?

Gun Grabbers Target Your Doctor by Wes Vernon

Article Type: 
Published Date: 
Tuesday, February 26, 2002

The once-respected American Medical Association wants your doctor to butt into your constitutional right to own firearms.

Although only an embarrassingly low 32 percent of American physicians are members of AMA, the organization claims to speak for all doctors.

If your doctor is among the majority of physicians who are not AMA members, perhaps he could give you a laundry list of reasons for a refusal to participate. They could range from nonsense bureaucracy to politics.

No ethical lapses in physician efforts to protect public and patients by Dr. Richard L. Elliott (And reply by Dr. Miguel Faria)

In his reply to my article, Dr. Miguel Faria, a very fine neurosurgeon and writer, states that it is unethical for physicians “to intrusively ask patients about the presence of guns in the home” and that by so doing, physicians become “snitches” against their own patients.

I agree that if the purpose of asking about guns is solely to report the possession of guns, and that if the physician asks “intrusively” and reports without the patient’s permission and in the absence of an imminent threat, it would be wrong.

Boundary Violations --- Gun Politics in the Doctor's Office

Timothy Wheeler, MD
Article Type: 
March/April 1999
Volume Number: 
Issue Number: 

Imagine this scenario: you visit your doctor for back pain. Your doctor asks if you have firearms in your home. Then he announces that your family would be better off (especially your children) if you had no guns at all in your house. You leave the doctor's office feeling uneasy, wondering what guns have to do with your backache. Does your doctor care about your family's safety? Or instead, did he use your trust and his authority to advance a political agenda?