The article prompting this public service information was published by Gun Rights Examiner
David Codrea. Read his article HERE:

‘Progressive’-influenced pediatrician wants pass on boundary violations for guns


Risk Management Advice to Physicians and Malpractice
Insurance Providers: Don't Borrow Trouble
© 2000 by Joe Horn

One of the best games in town is litigation, and litigating against physicians is even more
popular than suing gun manufacturers. Physicians and their malpractice insurance carriers
are well aware that litigators are constantly looking for new opportunities to sue. Let's talk
about one of those new areas of liability exposure.

Nowadays, many physicians and other health care providers are engaging in the very risky,
well intentioned, albeit naive and politically inspired business of asking their patients about
ownership, maintenance and storage of firearms in the home, and even removal of those
firearms from the home. Some could argue that this is a "boundary violation," and it probably
is, but there is another very valid reason why these professionals should NOT engage in this

Physicians are licensed and certified in the practice of medicine, the treatment of illnesses
and injuries, and in preventative activities. They may advise or answer questions about
those issues. However, when physicians give advice about firearms safety in the home,
without certification in that field, and without physically INSPECTING that particular home and
those particular firearms, they are functioning outside the practice of medicine.

Furthermore, if they fail to review the gamut of safety issues in the home, such as those
relating to electricity, drains, disposals, compactors, garage doors, driveway safety, pool
safety, pool fence codes and special locks for pool gates, auto safety, gas, broken glass,
stored cleaning chemicals, buckets, toilets, sharp objects, garden tools, home tools, power
tools, lawnmowers, lawn chemicals, scissors, needles, forks, knives, and on and on, well,
you get the drift. A litigator could easily accuse that physician of being NEGLIGENT for not
covering whichever one of those things that ultimately led to the death or injury of a child or
any one in the family or even a visitor to the patient's home.

To engage in Home Safety Counseling without certification, license or formal training in
home safety and Risk Management and to concentrate on one small politically correct area,
i.e., firearms to the neglect of ALL of the other safety issues in the modern home, is to invite
a lawsuit because the safety counselor, (Physician) Knew, Could have known or Should
have known that there were other dangers to the occupants of that house more immediate
than firearms. Things like swimming pools, buckets of water, and chemicals in homes are
involved in the death or injury of many more children than accidental firearms discharge [
Source: CDC.] Firearms are a statistically small, nearly negligible fraction of the items
involved in home injuries. Physicians SHOULD know that. So, why all of a sudden do some
physicians consider themselves to be firearms and home safety experts? Where is their
concern for all the other home safety issues that they DON'T cover with their patients?

Once physicians start down this path of home safety counseling, they are completely on
their own. A review of their medical malpractice insurance will reveal that if they engage in
an activity for which they are not certified, the carrier will not cover them if (or when) they are

Consider a physician asking the following questions of his or her malpractice insurance

• One of my patients is suing me for NOT warning them that furniture polish was poisonous
and their child drank it and died. I only warned them about firearms, drugs and alcohol. Am I
covered for counseling patients about firearms safety while not mentioning and giving  
preventative advice about ll the other dangers in the home, and doing so without formal
training or certification in any aspect of home safety risk management?

You know their answer.

• How much training and certification do I need to become a Home Safety Expert Doctor?

They will tell you that you are either a pediatrician or you are the National Safety Council.
But, you don't have certification to do the National Safety Council's job for them.
Homeowners and parents are civilly or criminally responsible for the safety or lack thereof in
their homes. My advice to physicians is to not borrow trouble by presuming to be able to
dispense safety advice outside your area of expertise: the practice of medicine. Your
insurance carrier will love you if you simply treat injuries and illnesses, dispense advice on
how to care for sick or injured persons, manage sanitation problems and try to prevent
disease, but stay out of the Risk Management business unless you are trained and certified
to do it. For example, E.R. doctors do not tell accident victims how to drive safely.

Now, let's discuss the very serious issues involving the lawful possession and use of
firearms for self and home defense, and the danger and liabilities associated with advising
patients to severely encumber the firearm(s) with locked storage, or advising the patient to
remove them entirely. Patient X is told by Doctor Y to remove or lock up a firearm so it is not
accessible. Patient X, does as counseled and has no firearm available at close at hand.
Subsequently, patient is then the victim of a home invasion and calls 911, but the police are
buried in calls and don't arrive for 20 minutes during which time Patient X is raped, robbed
and murdered. Anyone can see the liability issue here, particularly Risk Management
specialists and liability insurance carriers.

It's just a matter of *when* and not *if* this will happen. Sooner or later, it will - if a home
invasion takes place and Patient X takes Doctor Y's advice.

Now, imagine what follows this horrendous event. Who is to blame? The perpetrator is long
gone, and even so, the Plaintiff's litigator will state that the perpetrator could have been
neutralized by the appropriate lawful defensive use of a firearm, which *had* been in the
home, but was no longer available to the deceased/injured because he/she followed a
Physician's *expert* advice to render him/herself and his/her home defenseless against
violent crime.

The Litigator will further argue that the Physician Knew, Could have known, Should have
known that removing a firearm from use for home defense would result in harm to the patient
if and when a crime was committed against the patient in the home, as any reasonable
person would have surmised.

If one acknowledges the already dangerous general liability of home safety counseling and
then adds the very risky practice of advising patients to disarm themselves in the face of the
reality of violent crime daily perpetrated against home owners, condo and apartment
tenants, it is apparent that the Physician is placing him/herself in a very risky position for suit.

It is my strong recommendation to Malpractice Carriers and those Physicians they insure to
strictly avoid this high risk practice and reserve counseling for the area of expertise in which
they are certified: Medicine. In my professional opinion, this is an emotionally charged
political issue that Physicians and their Carriers should not be manipulated for whatever well-
intentioned reason into taking the risk, which is considerable......

Physicians in doubt of the veracity of what I've said are encouraged to call their carriers and
ask them what they currently cover, and to ask if this new counseling policy is covered under
the existing policy. We already know what they will say:
Don't borrow trouble
Since retiring from the LA County Sheriff's Department, Mr. Horn has provided Risk
Management and related issue Human Resource consulting. Among other firms, he has
consulted to IBM, Gates Learjet, National Semiconductor, and Pinkerton International
Protection Services. and South Texas Marksmanship Training Center
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