New studies presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting on Saturday suggest that the fears many Blacks have regarding hospitals may be justified. They found that Black and Hispanic children experience longer stay times, often more than six hours even when the same test are ordered as White patients. The purpose of the study, according to lead author Dr. Tiffani J. Johnson, is to improve the quality of pediatric medicine for kids in the emergency room.
"If we don't recognize disparities, we're never going to be able to close the gaps," Johnson said. The study also found that Black children suffering from abdominal pain in the ER are less likely to receive pain medication. The data collected came from the CDC's National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey that included more than 2,000 cases from 550 hospitals from 2006 to 2009. Johnson hopes the study turns on a light for doctors, "I hope that providers caring for children will recognize this and make efforts to ensure they are proving appropriate pain control for children of all ethnicities."