Black Children Receiving Worse ER Care Than White Children [Study]
Black children who head to the emergency-room are more likely to receive a lower-level of care than white children according to a recent study that examined 2,000 children who sought treatment for abdominal pain in 550 hospitals throughout the United States. The study was presented Saturday at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston
In the study researchers found that black children were less likely to receive painkillers than white children, especially when their pain grew on a scale of 1 through 10.
The study also found that black and hispanic children were likely to spend up to six hours longer in the ER to receive treatment, even when testing was the same for white children at the same hospitals.
Researchers are not exactly sure why the problem exists, however they don’t fully blame ER staff. In some cases the study’s experts say black patients tend to be less vocal about their pain than white patients which can delay the examination process, a realization that was made in 2002 during a similar study that was eventually published in the Journal of Intercultural Relations. Other experts say doctors are twice as likely to underestimate the severity of pain in black patients when compared to other ethnicities.
In the meantime the study’s lead author Dr. Tiffani J. Johnson says of the children:
“We need to look at where these differences are coming from. Are they at the patient level, the parent level, or the physician level?”
In the meantime Johnson tells ABC News
“I hope that providers caring for children will recognize this,” she says, “and make efforts to ensure they are proving appropriate pain control for children of all ethnicities.”