Emergency Department Wait Times for Stroke Patients Vary by Race, Study Finds
The median wait time for a stroke patient to be seen in an emergency department varies based on race, according to a study presented on Wednesday at an American Stroke Association conference in San Diego, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The study is based on a sampling of 480 stroke patients included in a federal hospital database. Black stroke patients had a median wait time of 10 to 45 minutes, and Hispanics three to 51 minutes, compared with four to 36 minutes for whites, according to the study. Stroke patients have a better chance of recovery if they are treated soon afterwards, according to the Sun-Times.
Minorities might have longer wait times because they are more likely to be treated at crowded, urban hospitals, according to Michael Schneck, associate director of the stroke center at Loyola University Medical Center, who was not affiliated with the study. Schneck said the study also highlights the need for blacks to become better educated about stroke risk factors and symptoms so they can get to an emergency department quickly.
"The difference between 10 minutes and 15 minutes may seem trivial, but the sooner you get there and the more fuss you make, the sooner you're going to get evaluated," he said (Thomas, Chicago Sun-Times, 2/19).