OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A bill requiring doctors to contact police when they see a patient with a stab or gunshot wound would save lives, police told lawmakers Thursday.
”I think this is a tool that will help us get dangerous people who need to be off the streets, off the streets,” said Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas.
The Washington State Medical Association also backed the proposal.
Doctors in Washington already have to report gunshot and stab wounds when a patient who is unconscious arrives at a hospital.
But Courtney Weaver told members of the Senate Health Care Committee Senate Bill 5305 could end up getting more people killed.
”As a victim it jeopardizes an already crucial situation,” Weaver told lawmakers.
She speaks from experience. In January 2010, Weaver’s boyfriend shot her at point blank range, in the arm and face.
Since the injuries happened in California, where doctors must report gunshot wounds to police, Weaver was nervous her attacker would get angry when he found out the police had been contacted.
”My abuser almost posted bail,” said Weaver. “And there was no doubt in my mind... that he would have come and murdered me.”
Weaver and domestic violence survivor advocates testified the bill could scare victims from getting medical attention or could anger attackers who get reported.
Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, said the committee will discuss ways to potentially protect patients injured in domestic violence incidents.