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Researchers find race disparity in post-hospital arrival homicide deaths at trauma centers
Date:10/6/2011

AMHERST, Mass. -- New research based on post-hospital arrival data from U.S. trauma centers finds that even after adjusting for differences in injury severity, gun use, and other likely causes of race difference in death from assault, African-Americans have a significantly higher overall post-scene of injury mortality rate than whites. The study was conducted by Anthony R. Harris, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and colleagues and published in August by the Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection and Critical Care.

The study, from a nationally representative sample of trauma centers, covered the period from 2005-08 and adjusted for types of weapons used, severity of injury, age, physiological condition, year, and trauma center differences. It concluded that, in addition to insurance status, among patients brought to the Level I and II trauma centers, race is a substantial independent predictor of who dies from assault. Blacks, especially the uninsured, have significantly worse outcomes overall, though there is some evidence that this pattern is minimized at higher levels of injury severity.

Black patients showed higher overall raw mortality rates from assault than whites (8.9 percent vs. 5.1 percent), but after statistical adjustment, the researchers found the black to white adjusted risk ratio for death from assault (homicide) dropped significantly. After adjustment, estimated black deaths were 29 percent in excess of white deaths for firearm injuries, 36 percent in excess for cutting/piercing injuries, and 61 percent in excess for blunt injuries. Uninsured blacks comprised 76 percent of all excess trauma center deaths from assault.

Harris says that the findings are consistent with the bulk of the medical research findings on race and insurance disparities in hospital outcomes from causes other than intentional assault. But he also notes that, as is the case with almost all of
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Contact: Anthony R. Harris
abobharris@verizon.net
413-296-8070
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Source:Eurekalert

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