“DOCTORS ‘IN THEIR LANE’ SAVING LIVES”
by Toni Wellen, CAGV Co-Founder & Chair
In response to a November 2018 Position Paper from the American College of Physicians (ACP) “Reducing Firearm Injuries and Deaths in the United States” the NRA – National Rifle Association tweeted to the medical profession, “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves,” the NRA tweeted.
From their Nov 2018 Abstract, for more than 20 years, the ACP has advocated for the need to address firearm-related injuries and deaths in the United States. Yet, firearm violence continues to be a public health crisis that requires the nation’s immediate attention. The policy recommendations in this paper build on, strengthen, and expand current ACP policies approved by the Board of Regents in April 2014, based on analysis of approaches that the evidence suggests will be effective in reducing deaths and injuries from firearm-related violence.
The NRA tweet motivated the creation of the twitter hashtags #ThisIsMyLane, and #ThisIsOurLane, which then were attached to a wide lane of responses. Some are listed below:
“Do you have any idea how many bullets I pull out of corpses weekly? This isn’t just my lane,” tweeted a doctor named Judy Melinek (the tweet has now been “liked” more than 500,000 times). “It’s my f—ing highway.”
The ACP argues that medical professionals have a “special responsibility” to recommend “a public health approach to firearms-related violence and the prevention of firearm injuries and deaths” and to speak out and support “appropriate regulation of the purchase” of guns. “It is not an ‘us versus them’ issue,” said Heather Sher, a radiologist, “What we are truly asking for is a coming together of both sides to find a solution to this national health problem.”
ACP physician, Stephanie Bonne, tweeted to the NRA: “#ThisIsMyLane. Wanna see my lane? Here’s the chair I sit in when I tell parents their kids are dead. How dare you tell me I can’t research evidence-based solutions.”
Another member of ACP tweeted: “Maybe the NRA should have to tell the parents face to face. And pay for the funerals. And see the bodies of those killed by their obsession for money and guns.”
A tweet by Vincent Cornelis: “Here’s an idea. If the NRA wants to be in your lane so bad maybe it’s time for doctors to challenge them head on. Invite them into your operating rooms. Let them see what a body riddled with bullets actually looks like. If they refuse they’ll be proven cowards once and for all.”
In January 2019, the Coalition Against Gun Violence invited three doctors from Cottage Hospital to speak out on its “Guns in Our Society” TVSB interview show. Our guests were Dr. Jason Prystowsky, (Emergency Medicine), Dr. Robert Kanard (Chief of Pediatric Surgery), and Dr. Sara Nimmons (Pediatrician at Sansum Clinic).
Our interview began by citing the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently released new figures showing gun deaths on the rise across the country. Doctors have increasingly taken on gun violence as a public health issue. We asked these three doctors what their professional and personal view is regarding the NRA Tweet. Their responses were heartfelt, professional beyond what the public knows regarding the struggle for the lives of patients by doctors in emergency rooms.
Doctors Prystowsky, Kanard and Nimmons will be CAGV’s honored guests at the Coalition Against Gun Violence 24th Annual Celebration and Fundraiser at the Santa Barbara Club on Sunday afternoon, September 29. These are doctors in our community saving lives. More information: http://sbcoalition.org/2019/07/cagv-24th-anniversary-celebration-fundraiser