Racial bias in healthcare is putting black lives in jeopardy

Photo courtesy of Calaydria Callin

Currently, the world is going through a pandemic that the United States wasn’t properly equipped for. Being Black in a current healthcare profession is very trying. There’s constant racial discrimination amongst the different professions. Instead of coming together during a time like this, Black people are still being looked at through a different perspective.

When I was growing up none of my doctors were Black; it wasn’t until I came to college and had my first black doctor.

In 2018, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported, 56.2% of doctors were white and only 5.8% doctors were black. Being an African American female, this can be very discouraging.

Most people feel comfortable with doctors that look like them. For example, Black people who preferably support Black professionals in the medical field. It can make you feel better when you see a doctor or someone working in healthcare that looks like you.

While the coronavirus disease is taking over the whole country, African American communities around the nation are being specifically affected.

Louisiana death rates have increased in the Black community due to COVID-19. The Louisiana Department of Health reported that there have been 582 deaths from the virus. According to the 2010 Census, 32% of the Louisiana population is African American, however the total percentage of death rates for African American is 70%.

Being a Black patient in a predominately white field, we are often discriminated against and don’t get the same level of care as white patients. This happens everyday around the world, but when will it stop? Why is the Louisiana black death toll so high? Are they really going the extra mile to take care of  black patients or are they doing the bare minimum?

Because of  high death rates, Louisiana has implemented up to forty different community testing sites. The Louisiana Department of Health updates this list twice a day for the local residents to be aware of the sites and their information. Also located on the website is a Family Preparedness Information for Coronavirus Disease checklist to help lessen the impact of the pandemic for families.

Living in a state at such high risk can be frightening. It makes you wonder if so many people are catching the virus, are the doctors really doing all they can to help them and are they efficiently equipped?

As an African American, I believe that we’re not aware of our health until a life-threatening situation happens to us or someone close to us. Therefore, when a virus like this occurs, there is a much higher risk for Black people who are not aware of certain underlying health conditions.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness reported that more than 66% of the virus victims were diagnosed with high blood pressure, 44% diabetes, 25% chronic kidney diseases, 25% obese, and 23% heart disease. All of which are extremely common in the African American community.

This pandemic needs to be taken more seriously around the country. It has affected so many different areas of opportunity and will only get worse if people don’t adhere to the warnings being given.