Guns in the home are a proven deadly risk, Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center, said in a statement following Cookes decision. Guns kill eight children every day. The government cannot tell us or our doctors that we are prohibited from discussing the deadly risks posed by guns.
The Department of Health has not determined if it will appeal the decision, but House sponsor Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, said an appeal is likely.
I expect the ruling to be appealed to the 11th Circuit (Court of Appeals in Atlanta), Brodeur told the News Service of Florida on Monday. But that will depend on the wording of the ruling. I havent read it yet so well have to see.
The law says doctors and other healthcare practitioners shall respect a patients right to privacy and should refrain from asking about gun ownership or whether people have guns in their homes. The statute also says physicians may ask about guns if they believe in good faith that the information is relevant to a patients medical care or safety.
But the law doesnt spell out those acceptable circumstances, leading lawyers for the doctors to say it is so vague that they could be vulnerable to patient complaints filed with the Board of Medicine.
Lawyers representing pediatricians and other doctors argued that physicians had to impose self-censorship on health-screening questionnaires and verbal exchanges with patients because of fears they could face high fines or lose their licenses if they warn families about the risks of keeping guns in homes or other places.
Two Miami-Dade physicians Wollschlaeger, the family practitioner in North Miami Beach, and pediatrician Judith Schaechter of the University of Miami School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital said in court papers that they had discontinued questioning patients about guns on standard health-screening forms.
Said Wollschlaeger: Physicians just stopped asking their patients about gun ownership because it was such a dicey situation.