Another horrendous school shooting and no action as usual on gun control

May 23, 2018

Each morning when I drive to work I pass elementary, middle school and high school students walking to their respective schools in Portsmouth. The children are lovely, lively and fortunately safe for another day. They are walking in twos and threes, sometimes with parents for the very young, sometimes carrying basketballs or soccer balls. Not much of a care in their worlds, far from the fear that has enveloped so many schools and communities in our nation.

This latest mass murder, this time in Santa Fe, Texas, has come and gone, with no action expected on gun control, especially in the state of Texas. No action in New Hampshire either. Children (and resource officers and teachers) are the casualties, sacrificial lambs to our gun dominated society.

New England Medical Societies meet in Groton CT

May 8, 2018

On Saturday morning May 4, I had the pleasure of attending, as your president, the Council of New England State Medical Societies (CNESMS) meeting in Groton, CT, followed by the meeting of the AMA New England Delegation (NED).

The CNESMS functions as an organization to bring the six New England medical societies together to present to each other reports of their activities over the last year. In that context, I had the opportunity to present our New Hampshire State Report (well prepared by EVP Jim Potter). 

Responsibilities and Opportunities of the NHMS President

May 2, 2018

Serving as president of your society offers many opportunities far from the usual experiences I have in my medical office, hospital and life in general. One aspect is the responsibility of attending and meeting with the medical societies of our neighboring New England states. Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society in Boston. This coming weekend, I’ll be attending a meeting of all the New England medical societies in Groton, Connecticut. In early June, I’ll be in Chicago attending the Annual Meeting of the AMA.

Firearm Safety-Where do we at NHMS go from here?

April 18, 2018

At the last NHMS Council meeting on April 11, we discussed the accomplishment of passing the second group of Firearm Safety Policies that were unanimously approved on March 14, 2018. NHMS now has a comprehensive policy to support firearm safety (see my April 11 blog post for the eight specific policy areas covered). However, as we discussed at our last Council meeting, our next step is to develop an action plan to help facilitate the changes (decreases) in gun violence that we hope to accomplish with these policies. We know we can’t do this by ourselves, but can accomplish these goals by working with other organizations who share our goals.

New Hampshire physicians speak out against gun related violence

April 11, 2018

The New Hampshire Medical Society has been focused on the epidemic of gun-related violence in our state and country for the last four years. Indeed, it was almost exactly four years ago, on March 12, 2014, that the NHMS passed its first Firearm Safety Policy. That policy was an appropriate beginning effort of NHMS, but as the last four years have shown, much more needs to be done to curb this ever-increasing public health epidemic in our land. It was ironic but mostly, of course, so tragic that at the NHMS Executive Council meeting on February 14, 2018 we were poised to begin to discuss a more comprehensive group of gun safety policies when we heard of the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

Death Penalty Repeal Revisited from a Medical/Psychiatric Perspective, Part I

March 12, 2018

Once again the legislature and New Hampshire is considering repeal of the death penalty. The repeal bill, SB 593, would replace capital punishment with imprisonment without the possibility of parole. SB 593 has 13 sponsors in the Senate, which is already a majority, so it is likely to pass in the Senate. It is also likely to garner sufficient support to pass in the House. Unfortunately, Governor Sununu has already indicated he will veto repeal of the death penalty if it comes to his desk. We can only hope he listens to the many arguments from both sides of the aisle to reconsider his opposition to repeal. The arguments for repeal are from so many different perspectives: religious, moral, pragmatic, legal, financial, medical and psychiatric/psychological. I will offer the arguments here from a medical and psychiatric perspective.   

Another School Shooting, One More Tragedy, One Too Many!

February 19, 2018

In today’s blog post I was going to write about the AMA Advocacy Meeting that Jim Potter, Bill Kassler, Georgia Tuttle and I attended in Washington, D.C., on February 12-14. However, another school shooting involving seventeen deaths has overshadowed that very positive opportunity that we had to meet with Senators Shaheen and Hassan and their staffs, Congresswoman Kuster and her staff, and staff of Congresswoman Shea-Porter. Our meetings were both enjoyable and productive, as we have excellent representation on “the Hill.” We came home to New Hampshire, however, on February 14, Valentine’s Day, to confront yet another gun-related tragedy.

Considering Firearm Issues

January 29, 2018

My plan for today’s blog post was to discuss the current NHMS policy regarding firearms and to suggest some further actions that NHMS could take regarding the U.S. epidemic of gun violence.  I do plan to explore this issue in more detail soon in our bi-monthly magazine, but recent bills in the NH Legislature and almost daily events in the news prompted this discussion today.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018

January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr.I am writing this blogpost on the day of commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth. I recall in particular the hopes much of the country had on August 28, 1963, when Dr. King stood on the steps of Lincoln’s monument and delivered his uplifting “I had a dream” speech. My father and I had traveled from NYC to share that stirring occasion of hope. I was twenty then, one year before I began my medical career at University of Chicago Medical School. And less than five years later, before I completed medical school, King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Today, as we celebrate King’s legacy at this very challenging time in our country’s history, I am reminded of his words:

            “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. 

Pages