According to a recent article in JAMA, whites are more likely to get narcotics for pain control than are blacks. (Other minorities such as Latinos and Asians also are more likely to get narcotics for pain than blacks.) The article intimates that doctors are more likely to think of blacks as drug seekers, rather than patients who have legitimate pain. Even for kidney stones, blacks receive Advil or Toradol more often than morphine or other narcotic analgesics.
The article I read also states that "blacks are the least likely group to abuse prescription drugs."
I didn't read the JAMA article; I read a story about the article here.
I'm not sure what I think yet. But I must admit, in my deepest little corner of my brain, a tiny voice is saying, "OF COURSE! you know it's true."
I'm a white person. I would like to think I treat everyone as they deserve to be treated, and do not base that treatment on the color of their skin. At least I hope I do. All in all, I have to agree with a doctor who was interviewed about this study, who said, "If anybody argues they have no social biases that sway clinical practice, they have not been thoughtful about the issue or they're not being honest with themselves."
When I go back to work tomorrow, I guess I'll have a little food for thought during the day.
Any opinions, blogosphere?
ADDENDUM: Thanks, Dr. Whitecoat! See WhiteCoat Rants for his take on the JAMA article above, with a link to the actual article here.