Quote of the Day: Medical Malpractice vs. Firearms Fatalities Edition

“What I’m struggling with is, is this [the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shootings] the new social norm? This is what we’re going to have to live with if we have more personal access to firearms . . . We have a public health issue to discuss. Do we wait for the next outbreak or is there something we can do to prevent it?” - ” Dr. Stephen Hargarten, emergency medicine chief at Froedtert Hospital and director of the Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin [via usatoday.com]

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

50 Responses to Quote of the Day: Medical Malpractice vs. Firearms Fatalities Edition

  1. avatarPaul says:

    Hmmm. You’d think a doctor would know better. Doctors are trained to understand data. The facts are that incidents like this are only newsworthy because they are so rare. Of course it isn’t the new norm. Stop worrying, Chicken Little.

  2. avatarJoe says:

    Public health approach… Teach basic gun safety in middle school… Or maybe make and hand out gun condoms… For when your being attacked in a gun free zone and get that I’m ****ed feeling…

  3. avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

    I remember the debate regarding Florida’s law banning doctors to question patients regarding gun ownership. My thought was that as an engineer, I could lose my license to practice if I work outside my area of expertise. If I (an electrical engineer) designed a dam or bridge, I would lose my license. One of the key reasons given for these regulations is to protect the safety of the public. I presume that the vast majority of doctors are not experts in firearm safety. So I guess that doctors’ standards of practice are less stringent than engineers. They don’t seem to have any problem offering “medical advice” in an area that they don’t have any real knowledge. They don’t seem to fear losing their license for doing so….

    And now Dr. Hargarten is offering a public policy opinion in his official capacity. I’m sure that he is an excellent Doctor but what is his expertise in sociology & public policy? Is he practicing outside his area of expertise? He can say anything he wants as a private citizen but when speaking in his official capacity, he should limit his comments to his area of expertise.

  4. avatarDerek says:

    “Having completely cured:
    Heart disease,
    Cancer,
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases,
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases),
    Accidents (unintentional injuries),
    Alzheimer’s disease,
    Diabetes,
    Influenza and Pneumonia,
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis,
    Intentional self-harm (suicide),
    Septicemia,
    Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis,
    Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (hypertension),
    and Parkinson’s disease, Doctors now focus on the “scourge” of “gun violence”. Not all violence mind you. Just violence committed with firearms. Because firearms are scary.”

    • avatarTTACer says:

      I think you forgot about the time they cured MRSA!

    • avatarDex says:

      they’ve cured those? color me shocked, but millions of americans still die every year from those illnesses. cured my arse.

    • avatarWill says:

      Where’s MS? Ya know…. oh…. sorry… don’t want to put Jerry out of a job on Labor Day.

      Yeah, they should cure MS, Lupus, HIV/AIDS, et al. before turning their attention to something that isn’t in their expertise. After all, do I go see a Kidney Doctor if my lungs are acting up?

  5. avatarPascal says:

    The only problem Doc is there is a mental health crises and there are not enough treatment centers or ways to get the people who need it the help they need but instead we throw them into prison….I know….I know its hard to blame the root cause and actually do your job.

    • avatarJosh in GA says:

      Too true sir. I found it ironic that, as a health professional, he is blaming the inanimate object associated with the act rather than own up to the fact that the person behind the object could have been treated by those in his field and possibly prevented these tragedies fro occurring.

  6. avatarViper26 says:

    LMAO……yep, no Agenda angleing there. Paul had it right, the only reason these events are nesworthy is because they are so rare……….hence why we never hear about gang banger shootings, by criminals, with ILLEGAL guns, in the inner cities. This is just the opening salvo in another line of attack by the GunGrabbers. Now they will try to get “regulatory oversight” by some other Fed agency “in the name of public health”. And the simple counter is that, as a “preventive health” measure, guns to Law Abiding Citizens should be MORE available, not less, with more acknowledgment of the Right to Defend Self and Others.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      I suspect that won’t be any better under Obamacare. We’ll see the public health angle along with a shite ton of taxes. Excellent!

  7. avatarLynn says:

    Another educated idiot, as my father used to say. So smart, yet so dumb.

  8. avatarLester Bangs says:

    America doesn’t have a gun problem. It has a savage black and hispanic problem. If blacks and hispanics disappeared tomorrow, the US would have a murder rate of 0.2 per 100K people—that’s the same as North Dakota and Singapore.

    As long as the US fosters a criminal underclass by encouraging illegitimacy, illegal immigration, dependency, and lack of personal responsibility, there will continue to be violent crime committed by that underclass.

    Shining example here—50 something convicted felon (OCFWG) sees two “yoofs” attempting to rob his brother. OCFWG stops robbery, punching 13 year old robber, allowing his brother time to drive off. 13 year old chases brother’s car with a brick, OCFWG goes inside. 13 year old and his homeboy come back and are seen on OCFWG’s back porch. OCFWG shoots 13 year old dead, other porch visitor(almost said monkey) runs off, leaving behind his hat and gold tooth. Now 13 year old hooligan’s momma is crying to the media “He kilt my babay cuz he be black and sheeyit.”.

    Here’s the story — http://www.indystar.com/article/20120808/NEWS02/120809005/Teen-s-shooting-death-described-in-court-documents?odyssey=tab%7Cmostpopular%7Ctext%7CNEWS

    Here’s the dead 13 year old’s FB page. Nice Hi-Point. Even nicer set name spelled out in 9mms. http://www.facebook.com/jarrell.tucker.7#!/jarrell.tucker.7

    13 years old and already slangin’ and bangin’, committing strongarm robberies, etc. Oh, and being in possession of a gun, according to his FB. What a good boy. Yet the media give his mother airtime to spread her lies and disinformation about the dead thuglet.

    Should the OCFWG have been in possession of a handgun? No, according to the law. He did time for what sounds like a knife fight between two bikers—and seems like he got pretty hurt in the fight as well. He did time for firearms violation. But it also seems like he was living in DA HOOD and the unruly gangsta thugs were making his life a living hell—breaking his windows, stealing his property, etc. But momma don’t no nuffin’ bout dat sheeyit. Jarrell beez a gud boy n sheeyit.

    America’s problem is not guns. It’s unassimilated blacks and hispanics. I will never understand why the blacks who are hard-working and want to assimilate still always side with the dead thugs. They should be taking steps to repair their communities. But no, when they get a little money, they move to be near white people. Why? Because white people are much safer to live around.

    • avatarSkyler says:

      I think this would make more sense if it were shorter and you told everyone why a convicted felon is keeping a firearm in his home and why you keep calling the convicted felon an acronym that is not defined. It would also help if you explained why he felt a need to shoot a man standing on his porch. Was there a point you were trying to make?

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        I deduced that OCFWG stood for Old Convicted Felon White Guy, or possibly Old Convicted Fat White Guy. I could be wrong. Not sure it matters.

        Oh, and he couldn’t have made it any shorter, Skyler. If he had, he’d have had to edit out something, and that would either have to be the facts of the case or the racial slurs. We need one, and he needs the other, so there’s just no room for editing.

      • avatarLester Bangs says:

        I think it’s pretty obvious why he’s keeping a weapon at home as a convicted felon—he’s an Old Convicted Felon White Guy(not hard to deduce) who has to live in the ghetto and is being harassed by 13 year old gangbangers.

        He shot someone who crept around to his BACK porch with an accomplice—and this was the same person who had previously tried to rob AND assault his brother.

        Now that I’ve made things clearer to you, can you refute any of my statements? Does America NOT have a problem with violent crime committed by blacks and hispanics? Was the example I posted not frightening to you—a 13 year old who’s engaging in strongarm robbery?

        America doesn’t have a gun problem, or even a violent crime problem. America has a violent minority problem. It’s not difficult to see it.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          I’ve felt myself to be in a sticky situation more times from white tweakers than from violent minorities. Please take your race-baiting somewhere else. It’s an argument that’s going to get no traction here, and just eventually devolve into name-calling.

        • avatarRalph says:

          Les forgot to mention all the notorious black sexual thrill-killers, such as Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz, Gary Ridgeway, Herb Baumeister, Ken Bianchi, Angelo Bono, Dean Coril, Jeffrey Daumer, John Wayne Gacy, Robert Hansen, David Parker Ray, Dennis Rader, etc.

          And he left out famous black spree killers like Starkweather and Fugate, Howard Unruh, Jared Loughner, Wade Page, James Holmes, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, to name only a few.

          Oh, wait . . . .

          Racist drivel is just that — drivel.

    • avatarjwm says:

      lestor bangs, you should meet matt. then the both of you should go off and start your own blog site. really, you’re both too smart for this site. let us know when your new site is up and running. i’ll be sure and not visit it.

  9. avatarAnon says:

    Medical malpractice kills 195,000 people per year in America according to medicalnewstoday. Let’s work on that first why don’t we?

    • avatarLevi B says:

      But he couldn’t do anything about that!

    • avatarMikeM says:

      Yeah, my first reaction to the story was to do some research on deaths from medical errors. I was (or mayby not) shocked to see that number.

      And how about this doozy from that same Medical News Today article:

      “If we could focus our efforts on just four key areas – failure to rescue, bed sores, postoperative sepsis, and postoperative pulmonary embolism – and reduce these incidents by just 20 percent, we could save 39,000 people from dying every year,” said Dr. Collier. [emphasis mine]

      As we all know, that’s more than the total number of deaths from guns annually.

      You’d think this idiot would know that already, which just makes it all that more ridiculous that he’s shooting off his mouth about public health issues.

  10. avatarPeter says:

    In the Tuscon shooting the shooter had been banned for from his college campus due to his violent and erratic behavior, now it appears that the Aurora shooter had his doctor contact campus security. PC concerns have everyone so afraid of being sued that they kick the can down the road hope for the best. We saw the same thing in the Fort Hood shootings where an obvious danger was ignored for fear of accusations of racism.
    Perhaps the good doctor could concern himself with the problems in the medical community instead of spewing nonsense.

  11. avatarSilver says:

    I suppose if he screws up during surgery, it’s the scalpel’s fault.

    He also sets himself up for the perfect answer. Inoculate people when they’re young. Get them involved in responsible and educational shooting programs so they learn to respect guns rather than fear, ignore, or abuse them.

  12. avatarRight! says:

    I recall that a few years back another nut job (but not a doctor) attacked a large Christian Church in TX(?).
    The outcome was quite different due to the armed CCWs presant. Did anyone raise an outcry then?

  13. avatarTD says:

    This is a good example of why it is very important to get the government out of healthcare. The more they pay the bills, the more they will be justified in coming up with all kinds of things under the guise of public health. Public health is a very important field that has lots of good things to say, but it’s a field that can be easily perverted to fit pretty much any agenda.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      I couldn’t agree more. It saddens me that your observations often go unnoticed. Think government is meddlesome now? Wait till they get their tentacles fully into healthcare.

  14. avatarRalph says:

    195,000 Americans die every year from preventable, in-hospital medical errors. 15,000 Americans are murdered every year. Do the math.

    It’s not guns we need to worry about — it’s doctors like this little charmer who kill more people in a month that all the murderers combined will kill in a year. Another issue — the dudes in the white coats get away with it. Hargarten’s screed is sleight-of-hand, meant to deflect attention away from the real killers among us.

    If doctors spent as much time focused on their own failures as they do on guns, the issue of doctor-caused deaths would have been dealt with years ago. So physicians, do us all a favor and heal thyselves. Until then, STFU.

    • avatarTD says:

      you’re more than welcome to never utilize any murderous medical services. avoid the doctor, avoid the hospital, refuse transport if you ever get hurt, etc… good luck!

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        Ralph is just putting things into perspective. An MD spewing medical and public health drivel against firearms while the death toll due to medical errors is more than tenfold.

        If an LEO stood up to talk about medical malpractice, he would be rightly criticized. Why then would we value the opinion of an MD regarding firearms and his percieved public health issues? As a society, we have passed the “doctors know everything” mentality a long time ago. If I want gun information, I’ll seek: other experts on firearms, TTAG, snipers, human history, etc. – people who have gleaned legitimate knowledge through personal experience. I have been consistently underwhelmed by politicians, doctors, and attorneys regarding firearm – related topics.

        I’ve been injured on the job on several occasions, and probably will be again. I’m all ears when listening to a doctor or nurse intent on my recovery. And if I can afford to go on another missions trip for medical reasons, I definitely will. I’d love to build a well in Sudan.

      • avatarRalph says:

        TD, tell my friend and law school classmate about your doctor worship. He went into the hospital for treatment of gout and ended up with liver damage, months in an ICU and a near death experience. And don’t tell my former law partners, who handled medical malpractice cases nationwide. They had so many cases that they were forced to turn away obvious malpractice cases because they were just capacity constrained. And none of the malpracticing physicians were ever punished in any way, because just like cops, physicians protect their own.

        195,000 die each year due to bad doctors and bad hospitals. Wrap your brain around that number. That’s more deaths annually than our military suffered in WW2.

        • avatarTD says:

          Gun control advocates love to talk about the cost of guns to society while pretending like the benefits don’t exist. Gun rights advocates are happy to point out the bias and give other side of the equation. Disappointing to see the gun rights crowd use the same approach when presented with an argument they disagree with. Ignoring the fact that medical error rates are irrelevant to the debate at hand, presenting numbers on medical error without providing context is much the same as presenting gun death rates without any other context. So here goes. Most recent data from our incredibly efficient government are from 2009, and don’t include federal hospitals. In 2009, just under 30,000 organ transplant operations, 123 million ED visits, 36 million inpatient hospital stays…. I’ll let you speculate as to the number of lives saved overall.

          As far as medical malpractice (a very different concept than medical error), if your lawyer friends are so worried about protecting patients, maybe they should spend more time in front of state medical boards and less time signing settlements that make them rich and include provisions that state there was no wrong doing…. Roughly 5% of cases make it to trial, and a majority of those are wins for the doctor. Roughly 60% of all malpractice claims filed are dismissed or dropped before ever even making it to settlement or a jury.

          Back to the original article. This guy is more than qualified to comment on this. He’s an emergency medicine physician with an MPH. His entire career is devoted to decreasing injuries on a population level. The government pays him lots of money to come up with ways to make this happen. When debating what approaches to take, gun control, education, etc, he’s going to choose D) all of the above. When important people who make decisions on this stuff want to talk to someone about reducing the number of gun deaths, this is going to be one of the first people they call. If you’d like to take part in the conversation when that happens, I hope you have more to offer than off topic, out of context stats designed to slander the other guy.

    • avatarSCS says:

      Let’s not lump all physician’s together. I know more that are big firearm owners than are gun grabbers, but I live in the Midwest not on one of the Commie-coasts.

      • avatarRalph says:

        Yeah, I had a great conversation with my urologist about guns. As I was preparing myself for the usual anti-gun BS, he started telling me how much he favored the NRA and that people had the right to defend themselves with firearms.

        The conversation didn’t make up for the prostate examination, but at least the visit ended on a high note.

        • avatarelnonio says:

          “at least the visit ended on a high note”

          Sounds like it started on one, too… :O

  15. avatarDerryM says:

    This is just the result of some News Reporter (probably a freelancer) working for AP digging for a “Story” and scoring big time by getting some MD at a major medical center to give her an interview where he makes statements that support the agenda she wants to advance. USA Today is on par with The National Enquirer and consistently pro gun control.
    Meh.

  16. avatarSoftware Cowboy says:

    I suspect he is not a very good doctor as he focuses on treating the effects rather than the cause.

  17. avatarTD says:

    you guys aren’t giving him enough credit. he’s an MD, but he’s also an MPH and your tax dollars are funding the work he does on injury prevention. That includes gunshot wounds. your tax dollars are paying him to come up with ways to decrease the number of injuries related to guns. when he makes his arguments for gun control in front of people who makes laws, they’re going to sound far more convincing than most. ignore him and be dismissive at your own peril.

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