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Black pediatric patients more likely to be restrained in EDs than white peers, study finds

Black pediatric patients are more likely to be physically restrained in EDs than their white peers, according to a study by researchers at Yale.

In a research letter published online in JAMA Pediatrics, Katherine A. Nash, MD, a member of the National Clinician Scholars Program at the Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues described a cross-sectional study of 551,740 pediatric visits to 11 different EDs within an unidentified New England health care system between 2013 and 2020, including 532 (0.1%) that had an associated physical restraint order.

Racial and ethnic disparities in restraint use likely reflect racism at multiple levels within and beyond the emergency care continuum (community, emergency medical services, and ED),” Nash and colleagues wrote. “Potential drivers include interpersonal racism in the perception of threat or aggression, institutional racism leading to disparities in access to behavioral health care, and structural racism leading to disproportionate experiences with risk factors for mental illness, including poverty, trauma, and discrimination.”

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