Analgesia for emergency centers' orthopaedic patients: Does an ethnic bias exist?

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Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research


Several prior studies have demonstrated that Hispanics treated in some emergency centers were prescribed less analgesia than white patients with similar extremity trauma. The purpose of this study was to determine if other institutions had a similar experience with regard to undermedication of certain ethnic groups. Two cohorts were studied, 1 adult and 1 pediatric group. The adult group consisted of 84 patients seen at Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, between January 1, 1992, and December 31, 1992, who were treated for isolated long bone fractures requiring a closed reduction. The pediatric group consisted of 63 children younger than 16 years, seen between January 1, 1992, and April 30, 1993, with isolated distal radius or ulna fractures requiring a closed reduction. Results indicated that Hispanics were nut likely to be undermedicated for fracture reduction in this level I trauma emergency center compared with whites. It is thought that a hospital with a larger populations of underrepresented minorities may be more sensitive than other private institutions.

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