Dissent in the Ranks of Doctors?

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons  has come out against the AMA position on gun control. The problem is that this group pretty clearly has a political agenda to support conservative causes, so I don’t think they’ll carry much weight. AMA has an agenda too, but gets to wear the mantle of being the group that represents the medical profession, even though they only represent about 15% of practicing physicians. I think what would be better is a medical association that stayed out of politics not directly related to the practice of medicine. Pretty clearly AMA has been thoroughly co-opted. Why does a medical association need a position on climate change?

14 thoughts on “Dissent in the Ranks of Doctors?”

  1. Positioning against gun rights is only a fairly recent crusade. That’s a tall order, and nearly impossible. Look at how many of these “medical organizations” weigh in on issues such as gays, abortion, etc. that permeate the political process.

  2. Why does a medical association need a position on climate change?

    Because they’re smart. And stupid people are supposed to listen to smart people.

  3. The medical profession, like many, suffers from their own perspective bias. To them, all issues are seen through the lens of disease. All problems can have the disease treatment mentality applied to it. They aren’t alone in that. Just ask any engineer. To an engineer, all things are a problems to be solved regardless of the domain.

    It takes a high degree of self-honesty to recognize the domain you are looking at through your personal professional lens is not one you should be looking to solve. I don’t want a heart surgeon pontificating on how to solve gun violence and injury anymore than I want an engineer trying to come up with solutions for climate change. Both are likely to come up with some really bad solutions with some awful unintended consequences.

    However, I understand the temptation. It can and often is too great to ignore.

    1. Just ask any engineer. To an engineer, all things are a problems to be solved regardless of the domain.

      Well, no. There are intractable problems and there are problems outside the domain of engineering, and any engineer who isn’t a social engineer will admit that.

      1. Yeah – though if climate change is a problem, engineers are exactly who I want looking at solutions.

        Not, perhaps, picking the one to use, but coming up with them.

        I can’t imagine who else would be coming up with solutions for it…

        1. Scientists to quantify the issues and blue sky some potential solutions.

          Engineers to refine mitigations, and provide technical trade studies.

          Economists to do cost-benefit trade studies.

  4. The AMA represents a small, but vocal, minority of physicians and legislators are increasingly savvy to just how unrepresentative the AMA leadership is. They have sold my specialty out time and again and as far as I am concerned they can pound sand.

    Physicians are extremely smart people and really should be making educated position statements. I would certainly prefer to see public policy influenced by physicians than celebs. Unfortunately, we can fall into the same emotional and logical traps that anyone else can. In this case, the AMA and ACP have jumped the gun and assumed the data would support their positions. Dr. Orient is correctly calling them out on the lack of evidence.

    I look forward to the response from the AMA and ACP leadership. In the meantime, I am off to join the AAPS.


  5. If you had heart surgery in my institution, you would have a Noveske Ambi anesthesiologist, Colt surgeon, FN SCAR scrub tech, and several other AR owners taking care of you.


  6. The people who run for state medical association leadership (necessary for AMA leadership positions) are the geeks who ran for student body president in elementary school…..

    The good doctors were the science club nerds, like me.

    I am not a member of the AMA, and don’t plan on joining. I don’t even subscribe to their journal, since it’s political BS has increased to the level that it detracts from it’s bad science.

    OTOH, while I am (technically) a member of AAPS, they’re basically the crazy uncles.

  7. Truthfully, I’d much rather see a group of physicians come out against the AHA’s advocacy of law-fat diets as promoting weight loss and heart health, when the simple truth is that our current obesity epidemic is the direct result of that bad advice.

  8. My FIL(LtCol in the reserves/Chief of Internal Med at the largest VA hospital in the country before he died) quit the AMA back in the late ’60’s. Said it had become a political organization instead of a medical organization.

  9. there are doctors that spend their time and energy taking care of patients, and then there are academic physicians who spend their time going to AMA and other professional meetings and trying to convince everyone how smart they are so they get their tenure or funding or a new title or some other crap that doesn’t really matter….. The two groups have almost nothing in common. The first group is very diverse and has a lot to offer in terms of intelligent dialogue on all kinds of issues if you grill them a burger and hand them a beer, the second group are typical liberal academics. The problem with the first group is that they’re so busy doing the actual work of seeing patients that they can’t be convinced in large enough numbers to actually counter the garbage spewed by the minority of physicians who make up the second group. As mentioned above, those in the first group who can be convinced are generally the crazy uncle types who can’t stay focused and end up rendering themselves entirely irrelevant. I am also technically a member of AAPS, but I keep my distance because I have no desire to be aligned with some of their positions. Unfortunately, for a libertarian in medicine, it’s the closest thing to a viable organization we have right now.

    There is a group called “Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership” that seems to be much more focused on just countering the lies that other medical organizations tell on guns in the name of better health. They have written some good pieces on the history of public health research on guns and also on the lack of research that informs the professional medical organizations’ opinions on the issue.

    On one hand, when the American Academy of Pediatrics puts out more statements about how much they hate guns, the media gladly passes that along to well meaning parents who assume that pediatricians must just care about the kids. That is bad. On the other hand, nobody who actually practices outside of a university setting cares one bit about what these organizations have to say. From my experience, I would say physicians are more likely than the general public to own guns, and they can afford some cool shit!

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