Shoot to Bill? by Pat Conrad MD


While most of the trade journals, political hat passing, and anything marked “AMA” go immediately to the trash or the birdcage, I keep browsing through “Family Practice News.” Not only does it allow me to keep up with the continued ruination of western medicine, but also it allows me to exercise an admittedly morbid fascination with how someone could get hooked up with a discipline that moves in such utter contempt of that person’s values.

The August issue on-the-fold: “Expect dementia patients to have a gun at home”. The dateline is – sigh – Copenhagen. At the July 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Denmark, a busybody fourth-year medical student investigator named Jason Hsieh presented his findings with this keystone plea: “This combination of a growing elderly population and guns presents some concerning health issues.” He notes that the elderly have “the highest suicide rate of any population segment, and a firearm is the most common method of carrying out that act.”

Mr. Hsieh then catalogues all the badness of dementia, including aggression, hallucinations, and paranoia (how this makes them different form the average AARP member I’m not sure).

And here Family Practice News swoops in, informing that “National statistics already identify gun ownership as fairly high among U.S. elders”: as high as 27 % who own one and those that do are likely to own more than one – “up to six, in fact.” Such were the conclusions on a chart review of 495 patients at the Cleveland Clinic. “Of these, 89 (18%) lived in a home with a gun.” FPN furnishes a nice inset pic of the author, and a QR code where we can watch him being interviewed. He ends with the cautionary “Doctors have no legal right to remove weapons from the home.” FPN adds, “All they can do is encourage carers (sic) to remove or unload and lock it away.”


  • that FPN would add such an admonition editorializes that they wish FP’s could do more. That is NOT our job.
  • a fourth year med student presenting this topic in a European Union state more than indicates his ideology, and his inflated sense of self-worth. (Author’s note: Denmark certainly has socialist creepings, but I spent a week there in 1987 and have never been around a more fun race. Cin cin!)
  • If old Uncle Herschel ain’t right, then by all means, take away his car keys, his gun(s), and while we’re at it, his ability to vote and dial 911 for constipation. If we’re going for common sense, then lets spread it around. But…
  • …and here’s the kicker: mealy-mouthed, busy-body One Worlders who present papers in foreign countries that encourage getting into other peoples’ business tend to gain an audience in arrogant academia, and amongst bureaucrats and politicians who are already well disposed toward such reflexes. The truly insidious feature of Mr. Hsieh’s study and FPN’s editorializing is that it takes something good and mutates it.

Authentic medicine should mean looking out for your patient, and inquiring about whether or not Aunt Pearly is buying bulk ammunition right after she takes her Aricept. A lot of us already learned that in residency, Mr. Hsieh. It should not include stupid, anti-freedom studies that will, I guaran-damn-tee it, find their way into government hearings, policy proposals, and probably core measures.

58820cookie-checkShoot to Bill? by Pat Conrad MD