Posted on October 20, 2011

Emergency Room Could be Hazardous to Your Black Health

Jeneba Ghatt, Politic 365, October 19, 2011

Recent studies on racial disparities in trauma centers give African Americans much pause before they rush off to the hospital.

One study found that African Americans are more likely than Whites to die from a gunshot or other assault-related injury after arriving at a trauma center.

In a recent report published in the Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection and Critical Care, data from 137,618 black and white assault victims over the age of 15 treated at 100 trauma centers between 2005 and 2008 found that the overall death rate for Blacks was higher than Whites, 8.9 percent compared to 5.1 percent.

One of the authors of the study, Anthony R. Harris, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said while the findings were consistent with previous studies, he could not pinpoint the reason for the racial disparity.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Blacks, who account for 76 percent of all trauma center deaths, are also uninsured. But no one may be ready to charge racism just yet or that lack of insurance may have played into what may have been inferior treatment.