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Communication Between Doctors and Black Patients May Save Lives

Nichol & Associates, Attorneys at Law Aug. 17, 2020

The unfortunate reality is that there is bias in medicine when it comes to race. Black patients in Tennessee and throughout the nation are routinely subject to subpar care, or they fall victim to ineptitude by the medical establishment due to subconscious racial bias. It can be an extremely frustrating situation for Black patients because many of them are already behind when it comes to things like education, housing and job opportunities. The fact that they also fall victim to substandard medical care simply makes outcomes worse.

Many illnesses, diseases and conditions show up first on the skin. They may be dermatological illnesses, or they may be illnesses affecting other parts of the body. Medical professionals are trained to detect changes on the skin of their white patients, but some of them are unable to detect the same issues on the skin of people with darker complexions. This is dangerous for Black patients because serious illnesses like skin cancer could go undetected. Even though the rate of skin cancer in Black people is not as high as it is in white people, a misdiagnosis could prove deadly.

One way that doctors can address this issue is to study and learn about how illnesses look different on white skin versus Black skin. Doctors can then communicate that information to their patients. They can give them self-care plans with the proper prescriptions and any other medical treatment that they need to stay healthy. Opening the lines of communication between doctors and patients can achieve a higher rate of success for the doctors and an increased rate of survival for Black patients.

Medical malpractice that comes about as a result of racial bias is very real. People who have suffered medical malpractice as a result of bias or any other reason may benefit from working with attorneys who have experience handling these types of cases.