Blacks, Asian-Americans More Likely Than Whites To Die After Being Hospitalized for Certain Injuries, Study Finds
Blacks and Asian-Americans are slightly more likely than whites to die after being treated for certain injuries during hospital stays, according to a report published in the February issue of Medical Care, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports.
For the study, Jerris Hedges, dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and colleagues analyzed data from the 1998-2002 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The study examined 489,025 hospitalizations in 22 states and focused on patients ages 18 to 64 who had injuries, mostly to the head, leg, chest, spleen or liver. The study found that blacks had a 2.1% higher risk and Asian-Americans, including Pacific Islanders, had a 2% risk of dying from such injuries, compared with a 1.5% risk for whites. Percentages for other ethnic groups were similar to that of whites. The study also found that minority patients were less likely than whites to be privately insured.
According to the study, injury is the third leading contributor to mortality disparities. The study noted that disparities were the largest among blacks with mild to moderate injuries, where there was more of a chance for discretion in treatment decisions. Researchers also said that language barriers could be the cause of the disparities among Asian-American patients.
Researchers said that physicians might "unconsciously incorporate negative racial stereotypes into their assessment of patients, and this likely affects treatment decisions" (Altonn, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/9).
An abstract of the study is available online.