A news study has revealed that black kids get less pain meds than white kids. The researchers looked at several cases of appendicitis and concluded that opioid meds in particular seem to be a problem.
To make matters worse, the operation is a pretty serious one. Dr. Monika K. Goyal, health expert with the Children’s National Health System (Washington, D.C.) and lead author on the study, offered a statement to Reuters Health informing that “I’ve seen a lot of patients with appendicitis, it’s a very painful surgical condition”.
She added that “Pain management with opioids is one of the mainstays of treatment”. Dr. Goyal and her colleagues were surprised to notice that not even 60 percent (60%) of young appendicitis patients were given any analgesia, “and among the kids that actually received it, why there were such marked racial differences in use of opioids”.
For their study, the researchers looked at almost a million cases of appendicitis patients, all age 21, or younger. The data that they studies was collected between 2003 and 2010.
The results showed that just 57 percent (57%) of the young appendicitis patients received some type of pain meds, and just 41 percent (41%) of these kids received opioid meds.
But the percentages weren’t the same for kids of all races. The researchers say that over 40 percent (40%) of the kids who were actually given pain meds were white patients, and that just 21 percent (21%) of the kids who were actually given pain meds were black patients.
Eric W. Fleegler, dictor at the Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, offered a statement of his own saying that things may not be as grave as they sound.
First off, some of the data that the new study relied on was collected more than a decade ago and there are no documents or investigations on what the current data looks like. He chooses to believe that things have changed for the better since then.
And on top of it all, every appendicitis patient experiences a different level of pain “depending on the duration of symptoms and the degree of inflammation”. So some of the medical staff’s choices may be valid.
However, field experts agree that analgesics should normally be prescribed to these patients.
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