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A new study conducted in Washington reveals Black children are getting far less medication than White children upon admission into hospitals, NBC News reports.

The Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Pediatrics published the study, finding Black children with acute appendicitis aren’t given the required pain medication. Often times, the report says, Black children are not asked about their level of pain. Researchers with Dr. Monika Goyal of the Children’s National Health System began the study by looking at nationwide surveys regarding over 900,000 children with acute appendicitis. 

Researchers claim their study reveals the racial disparities in children, and sometimes the unconscious bias doctors have when aiding a Black child.

A reported 34 percent of White children were given an opioid analgesia, a drug recommended to relieve abdominal pain. Only 12 percent of Black children were given the same drug.

NBC News reports:

“Our findings suggest that although clinicians may recognize pain equally across racial groups, they may be reacting to the pain differently by treating black patients with nonopioid analgesia, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, while treating white patients with opioid analgesia for similar pain.”

Separate studies on ibuprofen have been mixed over the years. A 2014 study from the Public Library of Science-Genetics claimed the painkiller could extend life expectancy. Others claim ibuprofen can be harmful in adulthood, possibly exposing individuals to heart problems.

Meanwhile, researchers say the findings have shown a 30-year pattern in the lack of medicating Black children. Black children aren’t likely to speak about their pain, but medical professionals are required to ask, no matter the patient’s race.



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STUDY: Black Children Receive Less Pain Medication Than White Children  was originally published on