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Minority Children Less Likely To Receive Appropriate Care Following Head Injury

Last week Health Imaging News shared the results of a troubling new study which found that certain children who experience head trauma may not be receiving the care they need to ensure their well-being. Specifically, our Illinois brain injury lawyers were disturbed to learn that African-American and Hispanic children were less likely to receive a cranial CT scan after head trauma when compared to white children. This is according to the results of a recently released paper from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Researchers involved in the projects reviewed available data on children who sought care at twenty five Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network trauma centers. They specifically looked at the CT scan use by professionals compared with the child’s possibility of having suffered a traumatic brain injury. In total, the records of over 42,000 children were evaluated. Out of that group, roughly 35 percent were given a CT scan to determine if there was any brain injury caused by the head trauma claimed by the patient. Medical professionals have discretion in all of these matters on what testing they deem appropriate.

Broken down by race, the doctors found descrepiciences in what children had the scan performed. Seventeen percent of white children received the scan, compared with only twelve percent of black children, and nine percent of Hispanic children. The researchers involved in the study were cautious when trying to give reasons for the varying rates of CT scan use. Though, logically there are two main choices: either minority children are not receiving the scans enough or white children are being given CT scans too frequently.

Either outcome is alarming. On one hand, brain injuries can have serious, lifelong consequences for those children who experience them. The symptoms of these injuries are notoriously hard to detect, and many sufferers fail to receive any treatment because they are never made aware of their problem. This counsels toward consistent and proper scanning when necessary to ensure the injuries are detected in a timely fashion. However, on the other hand, overuse of these scans results in increased radiation exposure for the children and overall increase in healthcare costs. Those involved with this research study are hoping that more analysis is done that better pinpoints the causes of the racial disparities in neuroimaging.

The Chicago brain injury attorneys at our firm are aware of the potential implications of this and similar research on the lives of the children involved. Fortunately, more and more families are becoming aware of the significant risks posed by brain injuries and the need to take all head trauma accidents seriously. The problem has perhaps received the most attention in the context of sports injuries. Those involved in contact athletics, like football, soccer, hockey, boxing, and similar games, must remain particularly vigilant about the injuries that may be faced by participants. There is little room for error when it comes to the safety of our young community members. That is why medical providers must ensure that they conduct the proper diagnostic testing in a consistent manner at all times.

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