American black newborns more likely to die when cared for by White doctors
Newborn black babies in the United States are significantly more likely to survive childbirth if Black doctors care for them instead of White doctors, a study has found.
The study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) also found that the babies are three times more likely to die when cared for by White doctors.
The mortality rate of Black newborns had a decrease of between 39% and 58% when they were looked after by Black physicians, according to the research.
The shocking results of the study are indicative of how racial disparities in human health can affect even the first hours of a person's life.
Meanwhile, the findings also showed, by comparison, the mortality rate for White babies was mostly unaffected by the doctor's race.
"Strikingly, these effects appear to manifest more strongly in more complicated cases, and when hospitals deliver more Black newborns," the authors wrote. "The findings suggest that Black physicians outperform their White colleagues when caring for Black newborns."
Also, study co-author Brad Greenwood told USA Today that there are several "disturbing" factors likely at play.
"I don't think any of us would suggest as co-authors that these results are manifesting as a result of malicious bias on the part of physicians," Greenwood said. "I also think that underscores how insidious something like this is. Children are dying as a result of just structural problems."
The findings back up previous researches, which have indicated that whereas infant mortality rates have decreased in recent decades, Black children are still a great deal more likely to die early than their White counterparts.
Rachel Hardeman, another co-author, said on Twitter, "Our study provides the first evidence that the Black-White newborn mortality gap is smaller when Black MDs provide care for Black newborns than when White MDs do."
Our study provides the First evidence that the Black-white newborn mortality gap is smaller when Black MDs provide care for Black newborns than when white MDs do, lending support to research examining the importance of racial concordance in addressing health care inequities.6/12
— Rachel Hardeman, PhD, MPH (@RRHDr) August 17, 2020
Also, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health, Black infants have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as White infants.
Furthermore, a June report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covering the period between 2000 to 2017 revealed that Black infants still are more than twice likely to die than White infants.