Can a Brother Get Some Morphine? Not at the ER

| Wed Jan. 2, 2008 3:05 PM EST

From CNN:

Even for the severe pain of kidney stones, minorities were prescribed narcotics such as oxycodone and morphine less frequently than whites.
The analysis of more than 150,000 emergency room visits over 13 years found differences in prescribing by race in both urban and rural hospitals, in all U.S. regions and for every type of pain.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

This though minorities are least likely to abuse prescription drugs according to this research. The thinking is that ER docs may suspect that blacks and Hispanics are 'drug-seeking' (based on what, one wonders?) or, which may be worse I dunno, that minorities can tolerate pain better than whites. Insert bitter aside here. Let's hope that Stewart and Colbert run with that one tonight. It's also quite likely that minorities are most hesitant to speak up for themselves in high-tech, 'white' institutions like hospitals. Whatever the reason: shame on you, ERs. Heroic you certainly are, and it's quite likely that most hospital workers try hard to be humane, but the fact is that you withheld relief from millions in agony due to racism. If you feel confident figuring out who's 'drug-seeking' why not bone up on who is minimizing their pain due to a all too reasonable lack of racial, or class-based, confidence.

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.