Dr. Kenneth Hughes, Los Angeles plastic surgeon, reviewed findings from a recent research study about disparity among different ethnic groups secondary to coronavirus. A recent study showed that black and Hispanic people made up 53% of the morbidity for those patients hospitalized for coronavirus. However, these same individuals made up 58% of those hospitalized. Therefore, their in-hospital outcome was at least as good as their white counterparts. Poorer hospital treatment due to black or Hispanic ethnicity is not borne out by the data.
The study also found that black and Hispanic patients had more underlying health conditions. Black patients had the highest rates of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. This group also had the highest rates of mechanical ventilation and kidney intervention. So these individuals were sicker patients with more comorbidities who survived at a higher rate than white counterparts, who were less sick. All of these factors and data cast extreme doubt on some sort of institutional racism negatively affecting patients of color, their hospital treatments, and their overall outcomes.
The study found that the number of black and Hispanic patients coming to the hospital for treatment was higher, which means there was not an access to healthcare issue either. The number of black and Hispanic patients coming for treatment at the hospital was a greater number than was reflective of their percentages in the community.
Dr. Kenneth Hughes will continue to evaluate studies to determine role that race or ethnicity may have upon access to healthcare and treatment of patients of a given condition. These types of statistical analyses are invaluable for evaluating concerns such as these. Anecdotal reports are of very limited utility in evaluating systemic issues, and doctors should employ science over emotion in evaluation.