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Mandatory Reporting, Gunshot Wounds, Confidentiality, Commentary, Gun Violence, Policy Critique


A recent position statement by the Ontario Medical Association’s Section on Emergency Medicine called on the Ontario government to pass a law requiring physicians to report gunshot wounds to police. The Ontario government quickly passed a motion to “introduce legislation to require hospitals and physicians to report gunshot wounds and knife injuries to their local police service.” The goals behind the position statement are laudable: “to assess and reduce immediate public risk and to collect data to inform future prevention strategies.” However, mandating that physicians report gunshot wounds is an ill-conceived response to the problem of gun-related violence. It will produce little benefit and cause significant harm.