After NRA Mocks Doctors, Physicians Reply: 'This Is Our Lane'

Doctors have been tweeting about their experiences treating victims of gun violence after the NRA mocked a position paper by the American College of Physicians. Above the NRA logo in 2017 at an outdoor sports trade show in Harrisburg Penn

Pediatric doctor Aaron Nelson said: "I've taken care of children shot in the head". "How are we suppose to solve this problem?" "Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control", the NRA wrote on Twitter. "Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves", the NRA tweeted. The physicians strongly pushed back after the gun lobby publicly told doctors to "stay in your lane" when it comes to gun research.

The NRA tweet contained a link to an essay criticizing the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine for their "hobby" of "opining on firearms policy", specifically the latest published report on the American College of Physicians' position on treating gun violence as a public health emergency and advocating for legislation to prevent fire-arm injuries and deaths.

"Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane", wrote the NRA's twitter account. It lays out the reasons why this is our lane.

As doctors and others in the medical profession, I doubt that there is anyone who never treated a patient harmed by guns. We are the ones that stop the bleeding, extract the bullets, crack open the chests and try to start the non-beating hearts. Often, we know our attempts are in vain, but we try anyway. Where are you when I'm having to tell all those families their loved one has died.

"It is not an 'us versus them, ' issue", Sher wrote in an email.

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Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore predicted that if photos of the crime scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 people including 20 first-graders were killed in a mass shooting in 2012, had been leaked to the public, Americans would no longer tolerate the NRA's control over lawmakers who fail to take action to curb gun violence.

If medical organizations "would like to concentrate on a public health crisis", she wrote, "they should focus on the mental health crisis that results in almost 50,000 suicides per year, the medical community's complicity in the opioid crisis that takes over 42,000 lives per year or the 250,000 deaths due to medical errors". If preventing those deaths isn't in the lane of doctors, whose responsibility is it? Even if no physical scars remain, the emotional ones can be quite debilitating.

The position paper, published October 30, updates previous calls by the ACP - the world's largest society of specialty physicians - on efforts to reduce gun violence, including protecting the right of physicians to speak with patients about safe gun storage and advocating for evidence-based policies to reduce fire-arm injuries and deaths. We are the ones that see the broken, bleeding bodies of the ones who don't survive. We are the ones who see the children caught in the cross-fire, who didn't get a chance at life because someone did not care as much for the life of a child as their right to carry a gun.

There are doctors standing on all sides of the political agendas surrounding the right to carry arms.

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