A doctor (R) checks the CAT scan report of a patient as a veiled Kashmiri woman waits to receive counselling at Kashmir's psychiatry hospital in Srinagar May 19, 2007. (Photo : Reuters)
A study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine reports white children who receive lower-risk injuries are likely to get a CT scan than Hispanic and black children.
"It's often that the minority groups get worse care, but what we found is that the whites are more likely to get CT scans that are not indicated and could be risky because of the radiation exposure," said JoAnne Natale, professor of pediatrics at the University of California. "[In this case] it's actually opposite because the blacks and Hispanics are getting better care...and the whites are getting too much (care)."
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Traumatic brain injuries have accounted for more than 7,000 deaths, with 60,000 being admitted to the hospital, and 600,000 emergency room visits in the US every year, according to Natale and her fellow researchers.
Further breaking down statistics, in the intermediate risk group, 58 percent of white children got scans compared to 51 percent of black children. In the lowest-risk group, 17 percent of white children got scanned compared to 10 percent of the black and Hispanic children.
According to Reuters, the study covered more than 42,000 children under 18 seen within 24 hours of a minor head injury. To classify as "minor," it had to be defined as more serious than just a bump on the head, but excluded very severe head trauma.
Natale and her team said they couldn't determine from their data why white children got scanned more. The team suggests that doctors have said pressure from children's parents and requests played more of a role in treatment of white children.