New AMA Chief’s War On Guns Is ‘Just One More Medical Misadventure,’ Says Gun Rights Leader

Thursday, June 21st, 2001

BELLEVUE, WA – By announcing a campaign against gun violence in his inaugural speech as president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Richard Corlin has taken medical misadventures to a new low, said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Dr. Corlin, a Santa Monica, CA gastroenterologist, was elected president of the AMA during that organization’s annual House of Delegates meeting Wednesday in Chicago. In his inaugural address, Corlin vowed to battle gun violence as a public health scourge.

Gottlieb responded today, noting, “Before Dr. Corlin gets too carried away with his hysterical campaign against gun owners, perhaps he should focus his attention on reducing the number of patient deaths due to medical misadventure.”

Gottlieb noted that Dr. Edgar Suter, a recognized authority on the debate over guns as a “health hazard,” has repeatedly cautioned his colleagues that medical misadventures claim two to three times the number of lives annually that are lost to gunshot wounds. The Harvard Medical School estimated that over 90,000 people die each year from physician negligence. Suter once placed that estimate as high as 150,000. By comparison, some 30,000 gun-related deaths are reported every year.

“That’s an enormous disparity,” Gottlieb stated, “and it suggests that Corlin would rather deflect public attention toward a fabricated epidemic of gun violence, and away from his own profession’s atrocious record. If there’s a threat to public health, it appears to carry a stethoscope, not a gun.”

Corlin was quoted by the Reuters news agency as stating, “What we don’t know about violence and guns is literally killing us.”

To which Gottlieb sharply replied, “What we do know about physician negligence is that it is actually killing us, at a rate of nearly three-to-one compared to gunshot wounds. That’s the so-called ‘public health scourge’ Dr. Corlin and the AMA really needs to address.

“It seems to me,” Gottlieb concluded, “that if Dr. Corlin and his colleagues stuck to their own area of expertise, and stopped trying to mix politics with the practice of medicine, we might once again find our clinics and operating rooms affordable and safe.”