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No Ethnic Disparities Found in Emergency Management

Study finds no differences among ethnic groups in initial assessment or management of patients in US emergency departments

THURSDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- There are no ethnic disparities in the initial assessment and management of trauma patients in U.S. emergency departments, suggesting other causes for the observed ethnic disparity in patient outcomes, according to an article published in the November issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Shahid Shafi, M.D., and Larry M. Gentilello, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, performed a retrospective analysis of the 2003 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey database of emergency department data, from which a study population of 8,563 patients was developed. The study population was divided into three ethnic groups. Ethnic disparities in the intensity of the initial assessment and management of trauma patients in the black (n=1,406) and Hispanic (n=1,051) groups were compared with patients in the non-Hispanic white (n=6,106) group.

The investigators found no differences among the three groups in the degree of emergency department assessment, diagnostic monitoring or treatment modality. Further, there were no consistent ethnic differences in the initial management of trauma patients when geographic region, private versus public hospitals, or insurance status of the patient was considered, the report indicates.

"Our data suggest that there are no ethnic disparities in initial assessment and management of injured patients," the authors write. "Other causes of ethnic disparities in outcomes after injuries should be sought."

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