America’s health care track record and scorecard with African Americans has been wrought with distrust, mistrust, and poor management in all areas of this nation. Regardless of a person’s socioeconomic status or whether they have health coverage or not, the news is once you enter the hospital as a black person, you will receive less than adequate attention and care. Furthermore, demeaning assumptions are made about your diet, lifestyle habits, and level of pain and discomfort that you can tolerate.
One of the most racially polarized cities in the nation, Chicago, experienced this firsthand when looking at the effects of vaccine distribution in the majority black Southside and the mostly white Northside of the city. There was more COVID19 vaccines being administrated to the Northside of the city and at a faster and more efficient pace. The Near Northside which includes the wealthier neighborhoods of Streeterville, and the Magnificent Mile has administered over 1,000 shots while conversely places like Roseland on the Southside only has given out only 97 shots so far.
Those who have to be hospitalized for COVID19 found that the doctors and to a lesser extent the nurses do not believe blacks when they say they are in pain or discomfort but rather brush it off as another diagnosis. Some doctors would rather not listen to the patient but have already made up their “treatment plan” before walking into the room. A white patient would get heard and understood and given meds immediately, but this is not the case for many blacks in America’s hospital. The situation is even more dire if you do not have insurance or if you do not have access to a primary care doctor.
Many blacks and Latino health care workers, according to one article in the Chicago Sun Times, notes that distrust about the vaccine process due to the speed of which the vaccine was produced is a common theme among healthcare workers. Fewer healthcare workers of color are lining up to take the vaccine because they remember past bad reactions or experiences with vaccines. This is notable because in general, this is the first mRNA vaccine to receive rapid approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
The mistrust is due to the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment in which blacks were intentionally injected with the disease as an experiment conducted by the United States government. They were not treated for the side effects and many would die as a result of this grave experiment which lasted over a decade. Many came home from serving their country during wartime and were turned away at hospitals and left to die despite everyone knowing what caused their blindness or other debilitating aliments.
The solutions to aid in this health care disparity, in my opinion, is threefold in nature. First, more health care providers need sensitivity training in learning about the unique health profile challenges such as quality and access that plague black and Latino communities. Next, we need better logistics and coordination between the states and local health departments in the various cities and counties in America. The blame and onus cannot solely rest on the Federal Government to address systemic racism in health care in our local towns and cities.

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By esmq1

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