Viewpoint: Black patients face racism in end-of-life care

Physicians must do more to ensure the proper treatment of African American patients in end-of-life care, Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD, a palliative medicine and critical care physician at Oakland, Calif.-based Highland Hospital, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times.

Four takeaways from the article:

1. Americans of color have historically suffered from poorer healthcare services than their white counterparts, Dr. Zitter wrote. They are also often undertreated for pain, with one study at an Atlanta emergency room showing 74 percent of white patients received pain medications for bone fractures compared with 57 percent of African Americans.

2. On the other hand, African Americans often receive too much treatment at the end of life. They are more likely to die attached to machines compared to white people.

3. Dr. Zitter, who is white, mainly cares for African American patients. She says her patients often distrust the healthcare system and physicians, who are mostly white.

4. To improve interactions with African American patients, Dr. Zitter wrote white physicians can partner with African American members of the hospital staff. The presence of African American hospital workers can help white physicians establish trust with their patients. White physicians can also pray with patients for whom faith is important.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Push to reduce low-value care often neglects patient experience, study finds
San Francisco hospital CEO resigns amid patient abuse scandal
Flu shot was 29% effective this season, CDC says

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Featured Content

Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers