The real impact of racism on medical malpractice

January 16, 2023 | Crandall & Pera Law
The real impact of racism on medical malpractice

There have likely been times when it didn't seem like your doctors or nurses in Ohio were listening to you. You might have felt like they didn't really hear your complaints or concerns. According to new data, it's clear that this problem is far worse for Black people.

Underlying racism leads to poor medical attention

The numbers indicate that genuine medical concerns are less likely to be taken seriously when the complaint comes from a Black person. This can result in medical malpractice like delayed treatments, which can cost lives. That's what one expecting Black mother tragically experienced. This woman reviewed her medical record and found numerous instances of nurses failing to accurately represent what she told them. The patient said that she hadn't felt her baby kick in an irregularly long period of time, but her doctors ignored her complaints and repeatedly sent her back home. This continued until it had been so long that she was certain something was wrong. By the time she got her doctors to pay attention, her child had already passed away.

Racial disparity in stillbirths

This is by no means an isolated incident. The family's story underlines the sad reality that racial disparities play a major role in medical malpractice. The likelihood that a Black woman will have a stillbirth is twice as high as it is for white women. This is according to the findings of the CDC in 2020. One of the problems is the fact that stillbirths haven't been studied enough as a whole. This is partly due to a lack of funding and an insufficient amount of attention from the general public. There aren't very many experts paying attention to this issue, and those who are researching and advocating on behalf of stillbirth awareness are mostly white people. Racism in the healthcare system has been called out in academic studies and by national obstetric groups alike, citing it as a contributing factor to the health disparities that continue to persist. At the heart of this issue is healthcare workers' tendency not to listen to people of color as carefully as they should.