Doctor asks teen if family owns guns…while treating his tonsils

Mary Rita Insley and her son SamIn Wednesday’s issue of the Chicago Tribune, John Kass writes about a troubling case of infringing one’s privacy.  Sam Insley, 16, of Oak Lawn, Illinois was admitted to a hospital because of a tonsil problem.  He had an infected tonsil.  Sam was admitted to Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn on January 4th.  A resident and two medical students were questioning the teen on routine background information.  At one point during the questioning, they asked his parents to leave the room.  Thinking they would ask him personal questions about possible drug and/or alcohol use she obliged.

When the family arrived home, Sam told his mother that he was asked if his family owned guns.  The mother quickly became outraged.  She said she would understand if he were suffering from some type of mental or emotional problems.  However, he had an infected tonsil!

At first an advocate spokesman told the family that asking gun questions are “not part of our protocol.  It is not routine in any way.  And it’s not a standard practice.”  However, later that day the hospital had a different statement.  The mother said that she was told the hospital began asking the questions in October.  “This apparently follows a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics published October 18th recommending that pediatricians ask gun questions as part of patient history.”

The report site firearms as one of the top three killers of American children and reasons that questions about availability of guns would allow medical staff to tell parents to keep guns out of their homes or at least out of children’s reach.  “Child health care professionals can and should provide effective leadership in efforts to prevent gun violence, injury and death,” the October report states.

I think it is preposterous that these types of questions would be asked.  It really isn’t the hospital’s business if the family owns guns.  It has nothing to do with his tonsillitis.  I understand if the child had some type of mental or emotional problem they would ask the question, but in this case it wasn’t warranted.

What do you think?


Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate


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About adrakontaidis

A conservative who doesn't pander to the GOP.

2 responses to “Doctor asks teen if family owns guns…while treating his tonsils”

  1. Janine Weil says :

    While seeing my ENT physician for hearing loss, I was asked “out of the blue” by the nurse asking about my hear loss that I have been followed for for over 1.5 years, “Do you feel safe in your own home?” I am a nurse. I was flabergasted at the out of context question. I might possibly understand this question if it was my primary care doctor’s office.

    There are 2 looming issues here. One is that the physicians offices are being aksed/ required to be mother and father to ALL patients in ALL their needs. The offices have a list of questions that they are required to ask that include – do you have carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms, and do you have guns and do you feel safe, etc. that if not addressed will determine that the physician in not providing adequate care. This is very time consuming for doctors. HOWEVER, the reimbursement for doctors is decreasing and insurance companies are now telling physicians HOW TO PRACTICE MEDICINE. This is the second huge problem.

    The huge amount of paperwork and oversite is killing doctor’s practices and taking them away from providing care for medical needs. They are not social workers. The general public has NO idea of the frustrations of doctor’s office nurses and staff being directed by beaurecratic, non-clinical people sitting in front of a computer telling us what to do like reading a recipe on the cooking channel. Actually, you might when you next visit your doctor’s office and see, “Gone Fishing,” call your insurance company for treatment.

    More Nanny State?

    • realtalkrealdebate says :

      I do think there are too many responsibilities. Doctors are there to treat physical or mental ailments.

      These “nanny state” procedures are getting very irritating.

      Thanks for the comment and the story!

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