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Race Discrepancy in Medical Care Continues

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Race discrepancy in the medical care continues after a large nationwide study was done. It showed that black people have a 30 percent of a less than likely chance to get specialized therapy after a heart attack. In long term the study shows that black people are more than likely to die after a heart attack compared to the whites.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Blacks were far less likely than whites to get specialized procedures after a heart attack and were more likely to die within a year, according to a study showing persistent racial disparities in U.S. medical care.

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked 1.2 million Medicare patients at least 68 years old treated for a heart attack between January 2000 and June 2005 at 4,627 U.S. hospitals.

It found large differences in the way heart attacks are treated in black patients compared with white patients.

Black people were about 30 percent less likely to get procedures to open blood vessels such as angioplasty or open-heart surgery after a heart attack regardless of whether the hospital they checked into provided full invasive cardiac services, the study found.

Black people were 22 percent less likely to be transferred from a hospital that did not do such procedures to one that did, it found. And when they were, black people were 23 percent less likely to get these operations than white people, the researchers said.

In the first month after a heart attack, black people were 9 percent less likely to die than white people, the researchers said, perhaps because whites were more likely to undergo specialized procedures that sometimes can be fatal.

But in the period from a month to a year after the heart attack, blacks were up to 26 percent more likely to die than whites, the study found.

For more information on this subject, please visit our section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.