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June 19th, 2013

Black Americans More Likely Than Whites to Undergo Amputations

A disturbing new study that was recently published in the JAMA Surgery journal finds that black Americans are at a much higher risk of undergoing an amputation, compared to whites in the same situation.

It’s not as if it is lack of access to high quality medical care that results in black Americans having a higher amputation rate. There is a wide gap between amputation rates among black Americans and white Americans, and these gaps are even higher in wealthier neighborhoods, and hospitals that have high resources.

Earlier studies have also indicated that white patients are much more likely to undergo revascularization to prevent amputations and treat lower leg ischemia, compared to black patients who much more likely to undergo an amputation.

What Houston Personal Injury Lawyers found really disturbing was that the black amputation rate was highest in those facilities that had high access to resources and top-quality medical care. This seems to indicate some sort of bias in treating black patients.

Leg ischemia is a condition in which there is reduced circulation of blood in the legs and feet. If the condition is left untreated, gangrene can set in. There is an obstruction of the arteries in this condition, and leading to a decreased flow of blood to the hands, feet and legs.

In many patients, leg ischemia is the result of trauma, like the type that occurs during an accident. A person who suffers from this condition can suffer severe pain in the feet and legs, numbness, diminished pulse in the legs and feet, gangrene, ulcers and open scores. In severe cases, surgeons may use a revascularization or bypass grafts in order to save the limb, and avoid the need for an amputation.

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