Racial bias in medical treatment of patients: black kids less likely to receive opioids

There is a lesser possibility for black children to get painkiller in the emergency room than the white children. According to the researchers, even in the case of appendicitis which is evidently a painful emergency; the black child is less likely to get painkiller. Even though painkillers are highly recommended in appendicitis, it is a disturbing to discover that only about half of the kids got the painkillers.

According to the work of Dr. Monika Goyal in Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Pediatrics, in case of average level of pain there is very low probability for a black patient to receive any analgesia and in case of extreme pain treatment with opioids is less likely.

A single aspect is not to be blamed. The unreasonable fear of morphine and fentanyl in addition to the inadvertent bias against African-American kids is the reason.

Data from year 2003 to 2010 was studied which dealt with the cases of 90000 children with appendicitis. The reason for choosing appendicitis was that it is considered a condition that merits pain relief. However the results of research were shocking on multiple levels. Only 57% of the kids received anything for the pain in emergency department and out of the 41 percent who got opioid only 12%were black.

According to Goyal’s team, racial discriminations function when it comes to opioid administration. Even though the pain is identified and acknowledged equally amongst all but the clinicians’ response to it diverges as the black patients are treated with non-opioid analgesia while opioid analgesia is administered to white patients for the same kind and intensity of pain.

Analgesia such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are used in cases of black patients and opioids are used for white patients.

The fear of opioids masking the symptoms of disease are no longer relevant as they have already been proven to be unfound. In addition to this was the fear of opioids developing dependence in kids, however there are protocols to take care of the fact that overdose is not administered to kids. Moreover opioids are a strong recommendation for appendicitis

According to Dr. Eric Fleegler and Dr. Neil Schechter of Boston Children’s school, in the absence of any physiological explanation of divergent treatment for the same symptoms proves that subtle biases, implicit or explicit does impact a doctor’s approach and this is not a very healthy scenario.