Peter Anderson / CC-BY-2.0

The American Medical Association, the United States’ largest association of physicians, recommends that hospitals and healthcare facilities allow guns and tasers in facilities that house patients with mental health issues.

The resolution was approved by the AMA’s House of Delegates on June 13, the day after a gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The committee changed the language in the resolution to indicate that the use of handguns and tasers would be “limited” rather than completely “restricted.”

MedPage Today reports:

The association’s Minority Affairs Section introduced the resolution, which was the subject of much discussion at the committee meeting on Sunday. Melissa Garretson, MD, an American Academy of Pediatrics delegate from Fort Worth, Texas, was one of the physicians who spoke in favor of changing the wording. She described an incident in which a father who was upset with the hospital’s treatment of his 4-day-old baby said he would “go to the car to get my gun to take care of this problem.”

“I live in Texas — you know he had a gun in his car,” said Garretson, speaking for herself; she added that security did not allow him back onto the premises. “Tell me I can’t have anything to protect our staff and ourselves, and I’m in trouble,” she said.

On the other side, Christian Alexander Pean, MD, an orthopedic surgery resident in New York City, said that his brother, who is mentally ill, voluntarily presented at a hospital in Houston last August seeking attention. After he was admitted and became disoriented, “the nurse called for security … the officers entered room, Tased him, and shot him in the chest, inside his hospital room” even though he was naked and had no weapon on him, Pean said. “They handcuffed him as he was unconscious and threw a drape over his body … a code was called.”

“We don’t want for this resolution to limit or hinder the ability of personnel to respond to these kinds of incidents, but we have to keep in mind what policies in place currently do when it comes to limiting access to the most vulnerable patients — patients like my brother,” said Pean.

Read more.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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