A recent study revealed that Black Americans anticipate experiencing racism when they go to doctor’s appointments, NPR reports. Conducted by KFF, a health research organization, almost 6,300 adults participated in the survey.
According to the study, twice as many Black women said they were not given pain medications after giving birth over the last decade in compassion to their white counterparts. The findings in the study were congruent with other surveys that discovered that Black patients were less likely to receive appropriate pain medication than white patients.
Additionally, a quarter of people of color said “that doctors were less likely to involve them in decisions about their care” and dismissed their concerns which eventually led to the discovery of serious health ailments.
Samantha Artiga, director of racial equity and health policy at KFF says that Black and Brown patients often encounter micro-aggressions when they seek medical treatment.
"Things like a provider not listening to them, not answering a question or responding to a direct request, not prescribing pain medication that they thought they needed," Artiga said.
Study: Black Children Who Experience Racism Are At A Higher Risk For Obesity
Unfair treatment by participants in the survey shed light on why people of color are conscious about their appearance during visits to the doctors. Six out of 10 Black respondents said they are “careful about how they present themselves and/or expect to be insulted in health care settings.”
"For example, feeling like they have to dress very carefully or take a lot of care with their appearance in order to be respected and listened to by their health care provider, or saying that they sometimes prepare for possible insults from health care providers during health care visits," Artiga argued.
The data also revealed that 62 percent of dark-skinned Black adults have experienced discrimination in the past year as opposed to 42 percent of Black adults who describe their skin color as "very light" or "light."
Meanwhile, Black and Brown patients noted that they receive better treatment from physicians of the same ethnic background, While being treated by someone from the same ethnic group is ideal, physicians of color represent an extremely small number of doctors throughout the country, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported.
Artiga believes that the findings from the study could be the spark needed to create new programs and initiatives to address the inequities in the health sector.
"There's a real opportunity here in terms of increasing the diversity of the healthcare workforce to have positive impacts on people's interactions in the healthcare system," Artiga said.
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