The definition of “medical history” seems to be expanding of late, as Jennifer found out at the pediatrician’s office:
I filled out all the normal, pertinent details. Family history, allergies, etc. Then I get to a section about exposure risks. Alright, I get the whole lead paint concern. And knowing if there are pets can help diagnose allergy problems. Then a question about whether or not I’m concerned about violence in the home. Wha?
Wonder what would happen if you tacked on a footnote: “No, I am not concerned; in fact, I delight in the prospect.”
It gets weirder after that:
[T]here is a section there where they ask “Are there guns in the home?” and gives a “No” or “Yes” check box.
Understand that nowhere on the form does it indicate that you can decline to answer. I declined to answer on the basis of context. Clearly, every box checked “yes” is supposed to raise some kind of red flag. I also declined to fill in whether or not I am concerned about his Tobacco use, Sexual activity, or Aggressive behavior (I’m not), nor did I share his computer hours, video game hours, or TV hours. Honestly, I don’t think any of that is the pediatrician’s business. I didn’t make an issue out of it. I just didn’t fill it out. Personally, I’d like to know what they are doing with that kind of data before I provide it.
Off the top of my head, I’d guess that all this becomes a batch of data points to be used to justify the adoption of even more intrusive questions in years to come, as American medicine mutates into a horrendous hybrid of the Excruciatingly Corporate and the Ruthlessly Political.