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Perspective: Disparity in care


We’ve been in a pandemic for the past two and a half years, meaning doctors' offices and hospitals are unlike we’ve seen them before. Wait times are longer, so it’s harder than ever to get treatment when you need it. For some of us, this is a crazy, unprecedented issue. For others, it feels like nothing has changed at all.

Let me explain. Think pre-pandemic times. If you’re white, you go to the ER for a broken bone. You’re seen quickly. If you express pain, you’re swiftly given medication to help. You are taken care of and sent on your way. If you’re not white, your visit goes like this. You sit in the ER for a while, a broken bone causing you some pain. When you’re finally admitted, you express the pain you’re feeling, and you might get some medication to help. Then you’re treated and sent away.

A study published in physician’s weekly found that nonwhite patients are around 41% less likely to get pain medication than white patients. Black patients wait longer for care when complaining about chest pains, a study from the Journal of the American Heart Association found.

Quality of care should not depend on the color of a patient’s skin. We need to guarantee equal medical treatment for all.

I’m Kelsey Cunningham and this is my perspective.

Born and raised in Rockford, Kelsey Cunningham is a student at Northern Illinois University, pursuing her degree in Spanish Language and Culture. In her free time, she plays a lot of online games with her friends and takes care of her four cats.