The mortality rate for Black mothers and newborns has always been high. Well, a new study recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, also known as PNAS, delves further into the “why.” The research study published its new findings that Black newborns born in the U.S. are more likely to survive childbirth if cared for by a Black doctor than White.
In actuality, Black babies who are cared for by White doctors upon birth, are three times more likely to die as opposed to when they are cared for by Black doctors.
“Strikingly, these effects appear to manifest more strongly in more complicated cases, and when hospitals deliver more Black newborns,” the authors of the study commented. “The findings suggest that Black physicians outperform their White colleagues when caring for Black newborns.”
The study found that the mortality rate shrunk between 39% and 58% when Black doctors were in charge of the birth of newborns. The research also pointed out the racial disparities in human health and how these disparities affect the first hours of life.
In contrast, the mortality of White babies was largely unaffected by the race of their doctor. Researchers did not speculate as to why this trend is happening; however, they did say that, “Taken with this work, it gives warrant for hospitals and other care organizations to invest in efforts to reduce such biases and explore their connection to institutional racism. Reducing racial disparities in newborn mortality will also require raising awareness among physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators about the prevalence of racial and ethnic disparities.”
The study researchers from George Mason University analyzed data from 1.8 million births in Florida between 1992 and 2015 for the study. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black infants still have more than double the risk of dying as their White counterparts.
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