Ambulance crews are generally supposed to take seriously ill patients to the closest hospital that offers the necessary emergency services, such as stroke or trauma care. However, new research shows that patients are sometimes transported somewhere else, and that their race may have something to do with it.
A national study published in JAMA Network Open on Friday found there were differences in the emergency departments where patients were taken by emergency medical services, based on their race or ethnicity. The researchers, from Boston University School of Medicine, found that black and Hispanic patients were more likely to be transported to safety net hospitals compared to white patients living in the same zip code. Safety-net hospitals serve a high proportion of people who are uninsured or on Medicaid, and other vulnerable populations.