Thursday, October 07, 2010

Racial bias keeps black patients alive longer

The dentist-waiting-room magazine Time could publish a treasury of unintentional liberal humor. Dig this latest howler: blacks are victims of bias by being kept alive through medical treatment.
Many patients with terminal cancer get life-prolonging end-of-life treatment they did not ask for, often due to lack of clear communication with doctors and, disproportionately, those patients are African American. …
Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute interviewed 71 black and 261 white patients in Texas and the Northeast United States. All patients had cancer that had spread and that was no longer responding to treatment. Most patients had discussed end-of-life care with their doctors.
"Doctor, I have come to a decision that when my time becomes of no further use to me, I request that no further efforts be made to keep me technically alive in a vegitative condition. This I submit to you while in command of my senses, and most solemnly ask that you duly note it."

"Hey, boy, what you babblin' about?"

"Doctor, I don't know how I can make myself any clearer. In the event that I have terminal cancer with no hope of remission, I adjure you to provide no further treatment."

"What y'all sayin', boy? You talkin' ebonics or somethin'?"

Wait a minute, though. Let's revisit the lead sentence: "Many patients with terminal cancer get life-prolonging end-of-life treatment they did not ask for … ."

Time's "Healthland" writer — "Healthland"! — "Bias World" —  goes on:
Black patients also tended to ask for burdensome life-prolonging care more often than whites, and were less likely to have do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders following discussions with caregivers.
So, black patients get end-of-life treatment they did ask for. Our "Healthland" host, Meredith Melnick, can't keep her whites-off-Earth-now stories straight. In the course of a few paragraphs, the victims go from unwanted to requested life-prolonging care. You would think even a Time writer might notice the contradiction.

Oh, but assuming the second assertion and not the first is correct:
Researchers found that black and white patients tended to have end-of-life discussions with their doctors with equal frequency, yet black patients were less likely than whites to understand that their disease was terminal.
I can see no other way to interpret this than that, according to Ms. Melnick, blacks and whites had the same discussion with their doctors, but whites tended to be smart enough to "get it," but blacks tended not to. Could anything be more patronizing?

Time not only wants to keep every African American on the liberal plantation for his whole life, but even when about to take leave of it.


1 comment:

Martin B said...

Time Magazine to blacks:

"Drop Dead, Already!"