Doctors Still Believe Black People Don’t Feel Pain; And It’s Being Taught In Medical School

Black and Hispanic patients in U.S. emergency rooms are less likely to receive medication to ease acute pain than their white counterparts. That is, unfortunately, a fact.

There has been a study that found when a Black person enters an emergency room with a pain like a broken bone and then a white person enters an emergency room with the same ailment, the Black person will receive a lesser dosage and even sometimes an inferior treatment. But it’s the exact same injury. Not a disease or condition, but injury-related pain.

As a matter of fact, a study found that when patients had long bone fractures or acute pain from other types of traumatic injuries, Black people were 41% less likely to get pain medication than white people.

Why is that?

A study published in 2016 sheds light on why this is continuing: Racial disparities are being taught.

In a survey of 222 of tomorrow’s doctors–white medical students and residents–about half endorsed false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites. And those who did also perceived blacks as feeling less pain than whites, and were more likely to suggest inappropriate medical treatment for black patients, according to the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read that again, future doctors “were more likely to suggest inappropriate medical treatment for Black patients.” That’s wild.

The overall survey included 100 regular everyday people and over 400 medical students and residents of different racial groups, asking them what they thought about statements like “Black people’s nerve endings are less sensitive than white people’s nerve endings” (which the authors say is false) and “Whites are less likely to have a stroke than blacks” (which the authors say is true). They also asked participants to imagine how much pain white or black individuals would experience in situations like getting their hand slammed in a car door. Researchers also asked medical students to suggest treatment for the patients. Then they looked at the relationship between those three categories.

There were several false beliefs across the board. But for white respondents specifically, those false beliefs correlated with their belief that blacks feel less pain, on average. What’s even more disturbing is those medical students and residents with a higher than average level of false beliefs gave less accurate advice more percentage of the time.

In another study, researchers examined data from 14 previously published studies of pain management in American emergency rooms (ERs) that altogether included 7,070 white patients, 1,538 Hispanic patients, and 3,125 black patients.

Compared to white patients, black patients

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