​Ruling by Appellate Court means physicians can counsel parents about firearm safety without fear of sanctions and loss of license

American Academy of Pediatrics Applauds Ruling to Uphold a Physician’s Right to Counsel on Firearm Safety

2/16/2017

​Ruling by Appellate Court means physicians can counsel parents about firearm safety without fear of sanctions and loss of license

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL (Feb. 16, 2017) – The American Academy of Pediatrics welcomes today’s decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court ruling against Florida’s “physician gag law,” which would have stopped physicians from counseling families on how to keep children safe around firearms.

The ruling means important conversations may continue unfettered between physicians and families about protecting children from unintentional injury and death, and it protects the physician’s First Amendment right to counsel patients.

The court upheld the June 2012 decision of U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke of the Southern District of Florida-Miami, who issued a ruling permanently enjoining the 2011 Florida law restricting physician speech on firearms counseling from going into effect.

“We are delighted that the constitution has been defended, particularly when it comes to the First Amendment.,” said Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Pediatricians routinely counsel families about firearm safety just as they offer guidance on seat belt use, helmets and parental tobacco use to reduce the risk of injury to children where they live and play. These are all topics that families should feel very comfortable talking about with their pediatrician.”

The law would have prohibited a simple conversation in the physician’s office that can save lives. Research has shown that when physicians offer guidance on gun locks and safe storage, appropriate to a child’s specific age and development, it is more likely that families will take those necessary steps.

“We are pleased with the 11th Circuit’s common-sense decision, which allows physicians the right to counsel families on firearms ownership and storage,” said Madeline Joseph, MD, FACEP, FAAP, president of the Florida chapter of the AAP. “This ruling will allow physicians to offer sound medical advice to families without fear of state interference or penalties.”

The Florida Privacy of Firearm Owners Act, which was signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in June 2011, violates the free speech rights of doctors and patients. It bans physicians from asking their patients routine questions and having a discussion about firearm safety and subjects physicians accused of violating the statute to harsh penalties usually reserved for egregious professional misconduct.

Soon after passage, the law was challenged in court by the Florida chapters of the AAP, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians, as well as by six individual physicians. The lawsuit, Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida, argued physicians’ First Amendment right to free speech and patients’ First Amendment right to hear the physician’s speech were violated. A U.S. District Court judge agreed with the physicians’ lawsuit and issued a permanent injunction, which was appealed by the state of Florida.

Other medical organizations have also challenged the law. In November 2012, an amicus brief supporting the district court ruling to enjoin the law was signed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Psychiatric Association.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit heard oral arguments in the case in July of 2013. Since the Florida legislation passed in 2011, at least 14 other states have introduced similar bills, but none have passed.

Springer Publishing Company is pleased to announce the publication of Medications & Mothers’ Milk 2017

mothers-milkThe Essential Reference for Professionals Working with Breastfeeding Mothers

Medications and Mothers’ Milk is the worldwide-bestselling drug reference on the use of medications in breastfeeding mothers, providing you the most current, complete, and evidence-based information.

Extensively updated throughout, the 17th Edition includes hundreds of new drugs, diseases, vaccines, and syndromes. The appendices provide information on radioactive drugs and tests, and over-the-counter drugs.

Written by world-renowned Clinical Pharmacologist, Dr. Thomas Hale, and assisted by Dr. Hilary Rowe, this drug reference provides everything that is known about the transfer of various medications into human milk, the use of radiopharmaceuticals, the use of chemotherapeutic agents, and vaccines in breastfeeding mothers.

Features:

  • Updated throughout with new data on 1,115 drugs, syndromes, vaccines, and herbals.
  • Contains new tables to compare the suitability of psychiatric medications and pain medication.
  • Includes many new radiocontrast agents and other diagnostic procedures.

We would like to work with your association to promote this book to your members.  We can offer your association discounting on quantities that are purchased for sale to your members.

Buy Now >>

350 groups sign letter to President Trump in support of vaccines

More than 350 medical, professional and advocacy organizations signed on to a letter drafted by the Academy to President Donald Trump expressing “unequivocal support” for the safety of vaccines.

The 28-page letter cites and abstracts more than 40 studies on vaccine safety and effectiveness. Co-signers of the Feb. 7 letter represent every AAP chapter along with state and national medical, research and advocacy groups, including the American Medical Association, the March of Dimes and Autism Speaks.

“Vaccines protect the health of children and adults and save lives,” the letter states. “They prevent life-threatening diseases, including forms of cancer. Vaccines have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are one of the most significant medical innovations of our time.”

As the new administration takes shape, the Academy and others wanted to be on the record early to demonstrate strong support for vaccines and the recommended immunization schedule.

The letter points out that despite successes, outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases still occur. “As a nation, we should redouble our efforts to make needed investments in patient and family education about the importance of vaccines … to increase the rate of vaccination among all populations,” the letter concludes. “Put simply: Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives.”

Mandatory Lead Screening for 1 and 2-year-olds on Medicaid in Alaska

A letter from Dr. Alex Malter, Alaska’s esteemed Medicaid Medical Director, on mandatory lead screening for 1 and 2-year-olds on Medicaid in Alaska: “The Department of Health and Social Services is updating its regulations to clarify that lead screening is required for all children enrolled in Medicaid at 12 and 24 months of age. The attached letter from the Division of Healthcare Services provides more detail about the requirement, and provides a contact phone number if you would like more information.”

Alex-Malter-letter

New Chapter Champion for Newborn Hearing

Congratulations to Jennifer Scoble, MD who will serve as the Alaska’s AAP Chapter Champion for newborn hearing.  Dr. Scoble feels strongly in this program and writes, “The early detection and intervention of hearing loss is important to me because I have a personal background and professional interest in neurodevelopment, particularly as it pertains to the NICU graduate, but including all children.  We have an opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of children with hearing loss by detecting it early and intervening as soon as possible.”

In memory of Dr. George Brown

It is with great sadness and sorrow that we at Glacier Pediatrics notify you that our beloved Dr. George Brown passed away last week. As you all know, Dr Brown was an exceptional man and physician; he has been a huge force not only in Juneau’s pediatric care, but across the state of Alaska and other parts of the world. Dr Brown was an award winning voice for the young, the mistreated. Dr. Brown was a strong outstanding vocal advocate for those in need, for all women and children; there are numerous programs that were started and supported by his passion for change and wellness. Dr. Brown is remembered as a great friend and mentor to many and will be thoroughly missed by many. He is grieved by his family, friends, community, coworkers and patients alike. A celebration of life will be planned in the near future.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Alaska-Kenya Health Scholarship Fund of Women & Children’s Health Associates at 1640 2nd Street, Douglas, Alaska 99824.

We are lucky to have live and worked beside him and look forward to continuing his work and invite all of you to participate and join as well.

What’s the Latest with the Flu for Clinicians

Red Book Online Special Alert – December 14, 2016

Current Flu Situation
Flu activity is increasing in the US. With flu being unpredictable, it’s not possible to say when, where, or how quickly flu activity might increase more, how severe it will be, or which viruses will predominate.

It’s critically important to recommend influenza vaccination to your patients who have not yet received it. With family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a fine time to get the flu vaccine, if you have not already done so. Remind families that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza infection. Vaccination is the most valuable step anyone can take to protect themselves and their loved ones against influenza and its complications.

Read the Entire Update >>

What’s the Latest with the Flu?

December 2016

Current Flu Situation
Flu activity is increasing in the US. With flu being unpredictable, it’s not possible to say when, where, or how quickly flu activity might increase more, how severe it will be, or which viruses will predominate.

​It’s critically important to recommend influenza vaccination to your patients who have not yet received it. With family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a fine time to get the flu vaccine, if you have not already done so. Remind families that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza infection. Vaccination is the most valuable step anyone can take to protect themselves and their loved ones against influenza and its complications.

Read the entire report >>