The Right to Bear Arms, Part 2

On June 2, 2011, Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law House Bill 155, The Privacy of Firearms Owners Act, which in the state of Florida would, according to the National Rifle Association, “stop pediatricians from invading privacy rights of gun owners and bringing anti-gun politics into medical examining rooms.”  The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Florida Pediatric Society urged Gov. Scott to veto HB 155 to no avail. The penalty for asking a patient about gun ownership? A $500 fine and loss of medical licensure.

The Right to Bear Arms

It is one experience to talk about Second Amendment rights, mental health issues and gun ownership.  It is another experience completely to hold for the first time a loaded gun, a Taurus .357-magnum with six bullets and no safety lock, in your father’s home, knowing that in the middle of the night your father, who has dementia, might mistake his wife getting up to feed the dog as an intruder, and then the problems really begin.  I had this experience two weeks ago, and as physicians, we know that we have, hopefully, been trained to make the right decision in tough situations.  Making that correct decision is often much tougher than expected.

Not Alone

Now that the summer is in full swing, one of the classic phases of parenting begins for those whose children are entering senior year of high school: the college application discussion and visits.  This summer may be slightly different, however, due to a report released earlier this year by the White House that addressed head-on the issue of college sexual assault

The House of God, Part II

For anyone interested in medicine beginning in the late 1970s, the book The House of God, by Dr. Stephen Bergman (aka Samuel Shem, MD,) was often recommended (or reviled) by those who were in the field as a sort of rite of passage to provide some idea of what a career in medicine might be like (before the Libby Zion case) with the caveat that it was fiction.  Four decades later, the book still provokes questions and discussions for many.

A Dream Dies To Save a Life

On June 26, 2014, the National Basketball Association Draft will take place in Brooklyn, N.Y.  One of the top picks expected in the first round, Noah Vonleh, was a star player at New Hampton School (N.H.) from 2011 to 2013 and was my oldest son’s teammate before playing for the University of Indiana last year.

We Have the Technology

On March 7, 1973, when I was 9 years old, the medical future came into my living room in Brooklyn, N.Y., via a 25-inch Zenith color television.  On that night, Steve Austin, a civilian astronaut, crashed in a test flight accident and lost his right arm, left eye and both legs.  Luckily for Colonel Austin, a Vietnam veteran who had walked on the moon, he was able to be “rebuilt” with artificial legs that allowed him to run at 60 mph, a prosthetic arm that could lift 150 pounds (and had a Geiger counter for radiation detection) and a bionic eye, complete with a 20:1 zoom lens and infrared capabilities, thanks to the generosity of the American Broadcasting Company.  Total cost?  6 million dollars.

Keep Them Safe

On May 29, 2014, President Obama hosted a Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit at the White House to address the growing risk of concussion in youth sports.  More than 200 invited guests attended, and the overall recommendation and emphasis were on the need for future research on head injuries and safety for the nation’s young athletes.  The president highlighted the millions of dollars in research commitments from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Department of Defense, National Football League and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The Normal Heart

A recent film on Home Box Office deals with the story of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early 1980s.  Having grown up in the Big Apple and having spent many years during the 1980s in medical school and residency taking care of patients with HIV/AIDS, the movie  took me back to an earlier decade when the lack of medical knowledge, fear of the unknown and significant prejudice in our nation against homosexuals were common.  It made me wonder about the current status of HIV/AIDS in our own state.

First (Worst) In the Nation?

Last week, the New Hampshire Department of Insurance presented information about worker’s compensation medical costs in the Granite State.  This information came from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, which gathers data, analyzes industry trends and prepares objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations from 35 states.

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

Spring is finally here, and Little League baseball players throughout the Granite State are oiling up their baseball gloves, taking swings in the batting cages and finally running around the infield.  Pitchers are staring intently at the catcher’s mitt, ready to strike out another Casey at the plate.  But a cautionary tale came our way from Major League Baseball last week from Miami via Tampa via Santa Clara, Cuba, about the limits of even the greatest young prospects.

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