Following the shooting deaths of four individuals at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on Nov. 19, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) President Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, issued a statement expressing exasperation about gun violence but also pledging to redouble the organization’s efforts “at what is unfortunately becoming a regular occurrence in our nation.”

Friedman said ACEP would continue to work with others across the emergency response continuum to reduce potentially preventable deaths and disability from violent incidents. To that end, he said the organization supports research regarding the effectiveness of extreme risk protection orders and gun violence restraining orders as well as related legislation aimed at preventing gun violence. In fact, Friedman said ACEP will convene public health and injury prevention experts “to review the current state of research and legislation regarding firearm violence to make recommendations to our board of directors.”

New Resource for Providers

Also, the American Medical Association (AMA) is acting to address gun violence. On Dec. 12, the group unveiled a new continuing medical education online module aimed at providing physicians with the knowledge and preparation to effectively counsel patients on firearm safety.

Specifically, the module is targeted to emergency and primary care providers to help them recognize the risk factors that increase the potential for firearm injuries and deaths and understand how to communicate with patients to reduce such risks.

“Injury and death from firearms is a major public health crisis. Yet, while we know there is a very real need for firearm injury prevention among patients, the majority of physicians are not taught how to screen and counsel their patients on firearm safety,” noted AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD, in a statement released by the group. “The AMA developed this education module to ensure more physicians are prepared to confidently and effectively communicate with their patients about firearm safety. We encourage all physicians to openly talk with high-risk patients about firearm safety. Doing so will go a long way toward addressing this public health crisis, helping prevent unnecessary firearm-related injuries and saving lives.”

The AMA reports that the module presents three scenarios to help physicians determine the best approach for interacting with patients: a patient at risk of suicide, a patient dealing with domestic violence, and parents in pediatric settings.

To access the module at no charge, visit: https://bit.ly/2AqIePD. For more information about this subject, including how ACEP and other organizations reacted to the recent ban on gun bump stocks, visit: https://bit.ly/2BJwF60.

ACEP Recommendations

Recently, ACEP indicated that it supports legislative, regulatory, and public health efforts focused on:

  • changing norms that promote “a culture of violence” to those that encourage social civility;
  • promoting public and private funding of firearm safety and injury prevention research;
  • funding firearm safety and injury prevention research;
  • creating a confidential national firearm injury research registry;
  • promoting access to effective and affordable mental health services;
  • developing technology to improve gun safety;
  • establishing universal background checks for firearm purchases;
  • enforcing current laws that prevent high-risk people from obtaining firearms;
  • restricting the sale of high-capacity firearms intended to be used solely by military or law enforcement personnel.

“Every day, many people and families are harmed by firearms and those who wield them,” ACEP President Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, said. “Can we find the will collectively to say ‘enough already’ and do something other than watch, holding our breath for the next devastating event?”