May 1, 2012
Black Kids With Stomach Pain Less Likely to Receive Meds in ER
Compared with their white
counterparts, African-American children and teens were less likely to receive emergency
room drug treatment for abdominal pain, according to a study presented at the
Pediatric Academic Societies meeting and reported by HealthDay News.
For the study, researchers at the
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh examined national data on almost 2,300
patients, younger than 21, who were seen at emergency rooms for abdominal pain.
Fifty-three percent of them were white, 23 percent black and 21 percent Latino.
Findings showed black children and
teens were less likely than white kids to receive meds in treatment, even when
they reported severe pain. What’s more, researchers also found that black and
Latino children were more likely than white children to stay in ERs for more
than six hours. (There were no racial differences in what tests were conducted
or in how many of these children were admitted to the hospital.)
Because ERs serve as the nation’s health
care safety net, where all children can receive care regardless of their race, insurance
status or ability to pay, scientists said the findings were disturbing.
“All children deserve equal access
to high-quality health care,” said Tiffani J. Johnson, MD, a pediatric
emergency medicine fellow at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and a
postdoctoral scholar at RAND-University of Pittsburgh Health Institute.
More research is needed to help
understand why these differences exist, Johnson said, adding that such research
is an important first step in improving the quality and equity of care that
children receive in hospital emergency rooms.
But, since the research data and
conclusions were presented at a medical meeting, they are viewed as preliminary.
The next step for researchers will be to publish in a peer-reviewed journal.
Did you know that the emergency
room can be a dangerous place for black patients? Click here to find out how
race can affect the quality of the medical treatment you receive.
Search: black, African American, kids, children, pain, medications, emergency room, ER
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