Racial disparity prevails in medical care in the U.S: Study

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Racial disparity rules not just in official, employment matters but also in health. A startling study reveals that Blacks were less likely than whites to get specialized treatment.

The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, states that Black heart patients are more likely to die within a year after a heart attack, as the specialized treatment for the same is not given to them, thanks to them being Black. The study reveals how caste, class and racial disparity rules in U.S. medical care.

The research was conducted on 1.2 million Medicare patients above 68 years old who were being treated for a heart attack between January 2000 and June 2005 at 4,627 U.S. hospitals. And when the revelation came out, the researchers were taken aback, they found that the black patients got an inferior treatment than the white patients. The proportion of blacks getting a fair treatment as whites was 30% less. The specialized care for heart like angioplasty or open-heart surgery after a heart attack was not available to the Black heart patients which resulted in a higher number of deaths in the Black community for the ill-treatment they got from the medical community.

To their surprise, the researchers found that the black people were 22 % less likely to be transferred from a hospital that lacked specialized treatment for heart care.

However, during the first month of a heart attack, white patients who could very easily avail specialized treatment were 9% more likely to die than the black heart patients, as the specialized care could sometimes prove fatal. But, within a year after the heart attack, blacks have 26% more chances of dying than whites, the study found.

Earlier studies have also found racial disparities in health treatments. But the recent study was conducted on a larger scale than the previous ones. Therefore, it could throw more light on the racial discrimination that has crept in the U.S. hospitals even. However, the researchers do not rule out other reasons for the different treatment to the blacks and whites. They say it could be anything from patient preferences for certain types of procedures to likely excessive use of certain aggressive procedures in white patients.

Doctors should treat their patients on equal basis. Racial or any kind of disparity should not be allowed to prevail at least in Health sector.

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Via: CNN

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