Doctors are prescribing more pain medication than ever before as pain management has become a very important part of the healing process. But as with everything else it seems these days minorities are not getting their fair share of the narcotics.
Does racism exist? Of course it does. Will it ever cease? I doubt it. But, we don't have to go creating it where it otherwise might never come into play. I say this in response to an Associated Press story today that I first read in the Chicago Tribune and found here on Newsvine headlined "Whites More Likely to Get ER Narcotics". This article seems to create out of whole cloth the notion that doctors are purposely leaving minority patients in pain. I just don't believe it.
The study covered 150,000 emergency room visits over a period of 13 years and found discrimination across the board in every circumstance. Pretty damning right? Not really, unless they are not reporting all the relevant details of the study. What is not reported is how many people are requesting pain medication and not getting it and the racial background of those patients. Instead giant leaps of faith are being made here, such as:
Even with the increase, the racial gap endured. Linda Simoni-Wastila of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Pharmacy said the race gap finding may reveal some doctors' suspicions that minority patients could be drug abusers lying about pain to get narcotics.
Linda Simoni-Wastila has just labeled every doctor in the study and possibly in the coutnry as racist.
Not until more than midway through the story do we get the real possible reason for the disparity:
Patient behavior may play a role, Pletcher said. Minority patients "may be less likely to keep complaining about their pain or feel they deserve good pain control," he said.
And even then they have to throw in the possiblity that minorities feel insecure about themselves. Enough so that they will sit there in pain because they deserve it. Give me a break.
Could it be possible that some people have a higher threshhold for pain? Could it be genetic? Is it possible that people of certain cultures react to pain differently? You won't know by reading this story. The only conclusion you are left to draw is that doctors consciously or subconsciously are racist. It may also be true that doctors are in fact being racist but I'm not ready to make that leap without proof.