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Minorities More Likely to Die in ER
Date:10/20/2008

Lack of insurance could play a major role, study suggests

MONDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to die in U.S. emergency rooms after a trauma than white patients are, researchers report.

Moreover, uninsured ER patients are more likely to die compared with insured patients, according to the study in the October issue of the Archives of Surgery.

"Both race and insurance status independently influences survival after trauma," said lead researcher Dr. Adil H. Haider, from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Baltimore. "Of the two, insurance status appears to have the stronger association with death after trauma."

Compared with an insured white patient, equivalently injured black patients have 20 percent higher risk of dying, while Hispanic patients have a 51 percent increased odds of dying, Haider said.

This problem is even worse for the uninsured, Haider said. "If we look at a similarly injured uninsured white patient, the odds of death go up by 55 percent. For uninsured minorities the odds of death go up even higher -- 78 percent for blacks and 130 percent for Hispanics."

For the study, Haider's team collected data on almost 430,000 patients treated in some 700 trauma centers throughout the United States. Among these patients more than 72,000 were black, almost 42,000 were Hispanic and almost 263,000 were white. In all, 47 percent had health insurance. The data came from the National Trauma Data Bank.

Haider's group found that 8.2 percent of blacks and 9.1 percent of Hispanics died, compared with 5.7 percent of whites. In addition, 8.6 percent of uninsured patients died compared with 4.4 percent of insured patients.

Minorities were much more likely to be uninsured; two-thirds of both black and Hispanic patients in the study were uninsured, while only one-third of white patients had no health insurance. Haider believes lack of heal
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