The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) revealed this past weekend that black children are dramatically less likely to receive pain medication in the emergency room than white children, according to ABC News.
Black children are 39 percent less likely to receive the same medicine as white children with similar problems. Since little is known about children's pain expression and perception, the PAS is searching for a direct reason for the findings.
The study's lead researcher, Dr. Tiffani J. Johnson, expressed her concerns about what she discovered.
"If we don't recognize disparities, we're never going to be able to close the gaps," Johnson said. "Now we need to look at where these differences are coming from. Are they at the patient level, the parent level or the physician level?"
The PAS also revealed that black and Hispanic children are likelier to have long ER visits than white children.
Researchers used data from the CDC's National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which included more than 2,000 children from 550 hospitals who visited the ER for abdominal pain between 2006 and 2009.
A 2002 Institute of Medicine study found large patterns of racial disparities in medical treatments, including that "minorities are less likely to be given appropriate cardiac medications or to undergo bypass surgery, and are less likely to receive kidney dialysis or transplants" as well as more likely to receive painful or life-altering procedures like limb amputation.
[Image via Shutterstock]