Minorities, Uninsured Struck by Cars Have Higher Death Risk

Mortality rate higher for these pedestrians than for whites, those with private insurance
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- African-American, Hispanic, and uninsured pedestrians struck by vehicles have a greater mortality risk than white or privately insured pedestrians who are struck, according to research published in the August issue of Surgery.

Rubie Sue Maybury, M.D., of the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and colleagues extracted data from the National Trauma Data Bank on 26,404 pedestrians, aged 16 to 64 years, hit by vehicles during 2002 to 2006 and subsequently hospitalized. The researchers compared mortality by race (white, African-American, or Hispanic) and by insurance status (privately insured, government insured, or uninsured).

The researchers found that African-Americans and Hispanics had 22 and 33 percent greater risks of mortality than whites, respectively, in vehicle-pedestrian accidents, while uninsured patients had a 77 percent greater risk of mortality than patients with private insurance.

"Minority patients have a greater rate of death from pedestrian trauma, and minority race and uninsured status are independent predictors of mortality after pedestrian trauma. This observation, coupled with the fact that more severe injuries occur in densely populated areas with a greater percentage of minority residents, places an undue burden of pedestrian trauma-related death on African-American, Hispanic, and uninsured populations. Prevention strategies to improve pedestrian safety on urban streets should be a critical component of efforts to decrease disparities in trauma outcomes," the authors write.

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