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Study Finds Heightened Risk of Appendectomy Complications Among Black Children

Pediatrics recently published a study that found that Black children are more likely to suffer appendectomy complications than white children of the same age group. The study – led by Christian Mpody, MD, PhD, MPH, MBA, and medical science colleagues from the Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital – used information from more than 100,600 appendectomies completed at children’s hospitals between 2001 and 2018. Based on the outcome of their research, the average medical costs incurred for an appendectomy on a Black child was 13% higher than appendectomy costs for a white child. The greatest financial disparity seems to originate from additional aftercare and treatments needed due to complications.

Researchers also found that Black children were almost 66% more likely to develop a complication after an appendectomy than the white children in the same study group. Even as appendectomy rates gradually decreased across the last two decades due to better pediatric care and medical technologies, the rate of complications among children of certain races remained constant. Interestingly, only 10% of the study group was non-Hispanic Black children, opposed to 90% non-Hispanic white children. If the sample size for Black children who underwent appendectomies was larger, then the rate of negative incidents could potentially be higher.

Lastly, the researchers discovered that the exact type of appendectomy conducted did not make a noticeable impact on the likelihood of complications and increased healthcare costs. Whether a planned appendectomy or an emergency appendectomy for appendicitis was performed, Black children still suffered five out of every eight complications.

The researchers and Pediatrics are using the study’s outcome as a means of calling for attention to the continued and widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the American healthcare system. The topic of racial biases in medical care is extremely complex, but one of the underlying issues is that medical research, studies, and training courses are most often completed with white male patients. This system creates a higher likelihood for inadequate care or medical malpractice suffered by anyone outside this narrow demographic, such as the Black children in this appendectomy complication study. Large changes to the healthcare system as a whole will likely be needed to correct this problem and help better protect patients from all backgrounds.

For more information about this recent report, you can click here to view a full article from The Wall Street Journal. (Log-in or subscription might be required.) If you live in New York or New Jersey and your child has suffered from medical malpractice of any sort, then talk to an attorney from Simonson Goodman Platzer PC today. Your first consultation is completely free.