Pediatricians in New Jersey and Pennsylvania precribed 36 percent fewer antibiotics to black children than their other patients of other races, according to a study in this week's journal Pediatrics.
- Parents Are Better Off Not Admitting They've Tried Drugs
- People Who Exercise Have Larger Brains Later in Life
- Mummies Have Atherosclerosis, Too
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania tracked 222 clinicians over the course of a year, looking at differences between patients treated by the same doctors. It was clear that the children weren't receiving equal care; but it may not be that black children were under-treated so much as the other children, who were mostly white, were over-treated. Acute respiratory tract infections are common in children; a lot of the time, they're caused by viruses, which antibiotics aren't able to treat. In many cases, doctors prescribe them anyway, which can end up causing harm.
Black children were also less likely to receive diagnoses that would warrant the treatment in the first place. For example, they were 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with strep throat. But in cases where an antibiotic was prescribed, black children were 12 percent less likely, overall, to receive a prescription for broad-spectrum antibiotics; they were 25 percent less likely to receive them for a middle ear infection.