sick childNew study shows that a child’s race and ethnicity affects doctors prescribing antibiotics.  One of the most common reason parents rush a child to the ER is an acute respiratory tract infections.

Overprescribing antibiotics is rampant for this viral ailment. Antibiotics are erroneously prescribed for 13 – 75 % of pediatric patients with acute respiratory ailments.

The study found that, “non-Latino white children seeking treatment for viral infections in the Emergency Department are about twice as likely to receive an antibiotic unnecessarily compared with non-Latino black children or Latino children, a multi-center study indicates”.

The research, led by Monika K. Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., director of research in the Division of Emergency Medicine at Children’s National Health System, was published online Sept. 5, 2017 in Pediatrics.

Dr. Goyal said, “.. it is troubling to see such persistent racial and ethnic differences in how medications are prescribed, in this case in the ED. In addition to providing the best evidence-based care, we also strive to provide equitable care to all patients.”

A number of previous studies have shown that  children of different ethnicities and races are not treated equally in our nation’s pediatric ERs, including frequency of computed tomography scans for minor head trauma, laboratory and radiology tests, and pain management. This study is another example of  disparity in children’ health care.Dr. Goyal also said. “Although, in this case, minority children received evidence-based care, more study is needed to explain why differences in care exist at all.”

At a time of growing antibiotic resistance, the study authors underscored how important it is to decrease excess antibiotic use in kids. Since the 1940s, the nation has relied on antibiotics to contend with diseases such as strep throat.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  reports that at least 2 million people in the United States are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year due in part to overuse of antibiotics.

SOURCE Children’s National Health System

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