Research consistently reveals that Black patients in the United States and in many other parts of the world receive suboptimal medical care compared to White patients.
These disparities manifest in several ways, including misdiagnoses, delayed treatment and unequal access to quality healthcare resources. The consequences of these disparities are not just limited to individual health outcomes but also contribute to perpetuating systemic inequalities.
If you’re Black or Hispanic in America, here’s what you can face in medical settings
In an ideal world, medical care would be unbiased and equitable, and every individual would receive the same level of attention and treatment – but that’s not what happens. Study after study has revealed:
- Patients of color are routinely dismissed and not regarded as credible narrators for their own conditions or symptoms
- Medical students and doctors often believe that Black skin is thicker than White skin and that Blacks are “hardier” than Whites
- Black patients are routinely given less pain medication (or none at all) than their White counterparts, largely based on the idea that they experience less pain than Whites
- Black patients are more likely to be regarded as drug-seeking than White patients, even when they present with identical complaints
- Black patients are seldom proportionally represented in medical studies, which means doctors don’t learn to look for symptoms of diseases that manifest differently in people of color compared to White patients.
- Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to wait longer in hospital emergency rooms than Whites and more likely to wait longer to see specialists, even if they have the same insurance as Whites
These disparities are only going to stop when patients hold providers accountable for their biases and mistakes. If you believe that your condition was worsened by a medical provider’s actions (or lack of action), find out more about what it takes to make a successful medical malpractice claim.