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Recently I have been reflecting on my time as a medical student in Dallas at UT Southwestern Medical Center and a resident physician in Chicago at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Honestly, I have been reliving and reflecting on the past patients I have cared for that died or were injured by a firearm. Most were intentional suicide and one was an accidental injury. How do I talk to my current patients that own a firearm and are starting to lose their hearing or vision and might mistakenly think an intruder is entering their home when it is actually a family member? How do I talk to my patients that own a firearm and have worsening depression because of recently losing a loved one or a job? How do I protect them and their families? How do I protect myself or my staff when patients direct anger towards us? I have found starting the conversation with the most honest statement can help: This is NOT always an easy topic to discuss. #thisisourlane
Adriana Guerra, MD