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Should doctors ask if you own a gun? - abc27 WHTM

Should doctors ask if you own a gun?

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

For some area health care providers, it's standard practice: asking patients during regular consultations if they own a gun.

However, one area woman says it's a question too personal, even for the exam room.

Laura Lee Lukunich of Hampden Township went to her doctor for an annual visit but was greeted by a new round of questions, which she said had nothing to do with her health.

"He asked me, 'do you own guns?' I was floored. His next question was, 'do you lock up those guns?' I was floored again," Lukunich said. "I think the medical industry, if this is going to be a regular practice now, has gone over the red line."

At the PinnacleHealth Camp Hill facility, the question has been standard practice for years. It's where Lukunich goes for check-ups, but she was never asked before.

"That is a standard question that is in our questionnaire and is actually in questionnaires elsewhere, too. That's a common question for a health assessment," Dr. Elizabeth Wolff, associate medical director at PinnacleHealth said.

PinnacleHealth adds that the patient can always decline to answer and reminds everyone that the information is confidential.

So why do they ask?

"We are looking at the entire patient," Wolff said. "Certainly safety is critical, too. So we ask may questions about safety. Owning a gun and having a gun in the house is just one of many questions that we would ask along those lines."

Still, some are crying foul.

"What does that have to do with my medical? I don't see the association," Lukunich said. "I would like to know what can we do to stop this because it is inappropriate in a medical office."

PinnacleHealth insists it is not the only health care entity that asks firearm questions.

A law in Florida that prevented doctors from inquiring about gun ownership was struck down last year by a federal judge.

It was famously described as the Docs vs. Glocks case. The discussion continued in appeals court this summer.

 

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