Doctors are some of the smartest people in our society. They are expected to be impartial and give equal care to everyone regardless of race, after all we’re all still human. But there has been research that proves black and Hispanic patients who reported severe pain were 22% less likely to get pain medication. Women
Doctors are some of the smartest people in our society. They are expected to be impartial and give equal care to everyone regardless of race, after all we’re all still human. But there has been research that proves black and Hispanic patients who reported severe pain were 22% less likely to get pain medication. Women are also slighted, a study showed that women who reported abdominal pain wait an average of 16 minutes longer to receive treatment. Now a new study is trying to find out why there is such a disparity between race treatments. The study has shown that of the 222 medical students and residents surveyed, 44% of the first year med students thought black patients had thicker skin than white patients, which is definitely false. It’s not just medical students either, a full 50% of those that were surveyed believed at least one false medical fact about racial differences.
It would be easy to say that racism is just running rampant in medicine and that may well be in some cases but psychology expert believes differently. “Previous data would suggest that these are notions that are just so pervasive throughout our society and are so entrenched in our history that they are [beliefs] that people hold,” Basically, these are just racial beliefs that have been ingrained in us since we were little and are just not challenged as we grow older, apparently even in medical school. This is a societal problem more than a medical one. But it would be false to say that the medical field is free from racial inequality. In the U.S. black people have worse health outcomes in almost every measurement of health including higher breast cancer mortality rates, HIV infection rates, and heart disease/stroke risks. Black children are even more likely to die in infancy compared to white children.
So, what can someone belonging to a minority do? A researcher at the Mayo Clinic says “Our underlying hypothesis is that hospitals and providers that treat more minority patients have higher levels of cultural competency,” The study has shown that the racial discrepancy is much lower in already racially diverse hospitals and clinics. So it might be better to go a bit further to go to a more diverse hospital to get better treatment than go to a closer one and wait longer for less care.