Here’s another addition to the horrifying-instances-of-medical-disparities file. In a recent New York Times opinion piece, My Patient Did Not Have to Die the Way She Did, Dr. Anahita Dua recounts the harrowing case of a Black female complaining of pain in her foot.
Dua, co-director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Peripheral Artery Disease Center, recognized the problem as peripheral artery disease. Earlier treatment might have prevented Dua’s remaining course of action: immediate amputation of the infected leg.
Amputation should be a last resort, Dua writes, if routine monitoring and lifestyle changes are part of a treatment plan. But good luck on that if you’re Black. “Black Americans with the disease are less likely to be offered treatment that can restore blood flow, known as limb salvage, compared with white patients,” Dua observes. “Black Americans also pay more for hospitalization costs and have a lower rate of successful limb salvage compared with white patients.”