Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Health Care Inequalities: Sources

What if the quality of medical care offered you depended on your race or your gender? I wish that were a hypothetical question. Unfortunately, a variety of scientific studies have shown that whether you receive proper medical treatment does in fact depend on your race and gender.

MSNBC carries a report on a study that recently appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association and demonstrates that minorities are less likely to receive pain medications when necessary.

The San Jose Mercury News has more on racially-based quality of care disparities in the treatment of lung cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.

Women, like racial minorities, often fall prey to delays, misdiagnoses, and disparities in quality of care. This article from the Portland Business Journal (although dated 2005) has one of the best in-depth explanations of the problems facing women with heart disease.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a nice list of links about disparities in healthcare for minorities and women, with the focus on women.

There's only so much room in a blog post. But these sources will help you see a bit of the scope of the problem. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people die unnecessarily because they weren't given the kind of aggressive care that would have been offered had they been of a different gender or race. Need I point out that this is unacceptable?

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