A recent study of deaths among black infants may provide another conscience jab to medical leaders who are confronted with mounting evidence of racial health care disparities in the United States.
As the Washington Post reported, researchers examined records of 1.8 million Florida hospital births between 1992 and 2015, finding in their published study these stark results:
“Although black newborns are three times as likely to die as white newborns, when black babies were cared for by black doctors after birth — primarily pediatricians, neonatologists and family practitioners — their mortality rate was cut in half. They found an association, not a cause and effect, and the researchers said more studies are needed to understand what effect, if any, a doctor’s race might have on infant mortality. ‘Strikingly, these effects appear to manifest more strongly in more complicated cases,’ the researchers wrote, ‘and when hospitals deliver more black newborns.’ They found no similar relationship between white doctors and white births. Nor did they find a difference in maternal death rates when the race of the doctor, usually an obstetrician, was the same as the mother’s.”