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Harvard Health Blog
Racism and discrimination in health care: Providers and patients
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As a white physician who does a lot of Worker’s Comp in California , I notice that Hispanic patients have many more services, disability, and medications denied by Insurance companies. It is absolutely shocking. I wasn’t looking for this, but it’s staring me in the face. Also, I agree that a black patient is much more likely to be viewed as drug seeking in an ER type situation. Stereotypes are rampant in medicine, unfortunately. And the culture of ER’s can be appalling.
It is always amusing to hear from people, educated or not, who attempt to explain away the struggles of some minorities by insisting that everyone else is racist and discriminates against those who appear different. That is garbage.
Some people are racist. Some people discriminate against others. But just because it might be convenient to put a label on an entire group of people does not make it true or right.
This is a very interesting and great read. Recognizing the problem is always the first step. One of the saying which I hate is when people say, “I don’t see color.” The very denying of it makes me roll my eyes. Only a few people in the world don’t see color, Steve Wonder, Ray Charles etc.
So if you’re not blind, don’t say it.
I don’t necessarily agree the the case example you gave is a result of racism. I have been treated the same way and I have no history of drug seeking or repeated ER visits and I am as Caucasian as they come. It’s classism. This is the way “poor” people are treated or those of us on “medicaid”. There is a huge problem in our health care system. Family doctors are pushing these pills on us and the ER treats everyone as an addict. The two don’t match up. Don’t they learn the same things in medical school? Or is there a special course for ER doctors on how to detect a drug seeker. I never even asked for pain meds just wanted to know what was wrong with me as I’m sure the lady in your example did. It’s wrong to treat people this way. Addicts will figure out a way to get their drugs anyway, saying no at the ER isn’t stopping anyone. Start treating addiction like the disease that it is. Offer non judgemental treatment so that patients will be honest with their doctor when they know they have a problem. MANY times a problem that was set in motion by the very doctors now labeling us addicts. It’s not right. When I was 20 years old I went to my doctor because I was getting Migraines. He prescribed me Lorcet and told me to take it every day 3 times a day? This was 20 years ago and I had no idea what he was giving me was highly addictive. He never once gave me any warning whatsoever.
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