Study suggests Alberta First Nations people tend to get lower level of emergency care
Hospital emergency rooms in Alberta are likely to assess complaints from First Nations people as less urgent than those from other patients, even when their problems are the same, says a new study that looked at millions of such visits.
“If people have a long bone fracture, you might expect the treatment would be the same between groups,” said Patrick McLane of the University of Alberta, a co-author of the study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
“First Nations people in emergency departments were less likely to get the higher triage score, which would result in higher urgency of treatment.”
McLane and his colleagues analyzed more than 11 million emergency room visits between 2012 and 2017 from all across Alberta. They looked at five different categories of injury or disease as well as five specific diagnoses.
The data revealed that emergency room staff consistently rated First Nations people as less urgent than non-Indigenous.
Overall, the study found 12 per cent of non-Indigenous patients were rated at the most serious levels, whereas eight per cent of First Nations people received that rating.
The finding was consistent through all different types of visits - trauma, infection, substance use, obstetrics and mental health - with the widest gap between First Nations and non-Indigenous assessments coming with substance use.
The pattern also held in three of the five specific diagnoses the team looked at.
A First Nations person showing up in an emergency room with a broken bone had an 82 per cent chance of receiving as urgent an assessment as a non-First Nations person with the same problem. For a respiratory infection, the figure was 90 per cent.
If a First Nations person showed up with an anxiety disorder, they had two-thirds the chance of a high assessment as a non-Indigenous person.
The work is part of a larger effort to address systemic racism in Alberta's health-care system, said co-author Bonnie Healy, a former triage nurse and Blackfoot member of the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre.
“We are all working on better relationships, better partnerships, to work together for gap closure in some of the health outcomes,” she said.
Both said the study isn't conclusive evidence of systemic racism in the province's emergency rooms.
“The differences we see could be multi-causal,” McLane said.
But the authors point out their new findings mesh well with previous work they've done. Interview-based studies have found Indigenous people have significant concerns about racism and profiling in emergency rooms.
The same findings result in studies in other jurisdictions.
“This fits into a picture that comes from the literature,” McLane said.
Healy said that many First Nations people, lacking family doctors, use emergency departments as primary care. If they're not being treated the same as other patients, that raises concerns about access to overall health care as well as emergency response, she said.
“A lot of the physicians and nurses don't understand that First Nations don't have funded primary care networks in their communities,” she said. “We really wanted to gain some understandings on both sides.”
Healy said the study will be presented to a group consisting of representatives from Alberta's health ministry and the province's First Nations that have been convened to discuss racism in health care.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2022.
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
By now it's as predictable as the calls for thoughts and prayers: A mass shooting leaves many dead, and wild conspiracy theories and misinformation about the carnage soon follow. Within hours of Tuesday's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, another rash began as internet users spread baseless claims about the man named as the gunman and his possible motives.
Tens of thousands of Ontario residents are facing another day without power as restoration efforts continue following last weekend's vicious storm.
Eleven newborn babies have died after a fire that broke out in the neonatal department at the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in the western Senegalese city of Tivaouane, said the country's president Macky Sall on Thursday.
Conservative Party of Canada leadership hopefuls Scott Aitchison, Roman Baber, Patrick Brown, Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis, and Pierre Poilievre squared off in the second official party debate on Wednesday night in Laval, Que.
Canada is committing an extra $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give the extra funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence toward women, and also crimes against children.
Frustrated onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman's rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, witnesses said Wednesday, as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a U.S. Border Patrol team.
Families are sharing photos and stories of their loved ones, who lost their lives in a mass shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two adults on Tuesday afternoon.
Several parts of the country, including British Columbia and Canada's Maritime provinces, are likely to see wetter-than-normal conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather's annual summer forecast.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has now confirmed a total of 16 cases of monkeypox in the country, all in Quebec.
The City of Calgary has recruited three people from the commercial real-estate sector in an effort to get a new event centre to replace the aging Scotiabank Saddledome.
After a massacre at a Texas elementary school, some are looking into safety protections against gun violence in Calgary's school system while mental health experts are offering advice for difficult conversations about mass shootings.
Those who haven't received their bill by the first week of June are asked to contact 311.
The Prime Minister toured the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, which is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Saskatoon Police Service says that the use and presence of potent new synthetic opioids known as nitazenes are difficult to track and monitor.
A 48-year-old semi-truck driver was killed in in a rollover near Meadow Lake on Tuesday.
'All it takes is one': Sask. RCMP partner with Washington police to publicize disappearance of Mekayla Bali
Saskatchewan RCMP and the Washington State Patrol announced a collaboration of efforts to locate Mekayla Bali, who was 16-years-old when she was last on April 12, 2016 in Yorkton.
A new art exhibit at the George Bothwell Library is hoping to examine and remove the feeling of shame associated with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
For those looking to hop the border into Manitoba for their camping seasons, it started off on the wrong foot for Duck Mountain Provincial Park.
As the inquiry into Nova Scotia’s mass shooting moves its public proceedings to Truro, many of the family members affected by the tragedy and their lawyers are boycotting the proceedings over the next week.
Former Chief Anchor Steve Murphy offers a timely perspective on the Mass Casualty Commission and the difference 30 years after the Westray inquiry.
Speaking off-script at an event in Halifax Wednesday morning, Canada's Minister of Public Safety said he was gutted by the latest mass shooting south of the border - the 27th in a school this year alone.
Was your home damaged by the Ontario storm? Insurance companies say payouts could take weeks to process
The insurance industry says it could take up to six weeks to get an idea of how many hundreds of millions of dollars in pay outs will be required from the weekend storm that brought death and destruction to Ontario and Quebec, but that early estimates are substantial.
Police have released new video of a recent incident in which a vehicle was caught doing doughnuts and speeding along the shoulder of busy Ontario roadways.
People all across Ontario are getting creative when it comes to netting a secondary income, otherwise known as a “side hustle,” and many are turning to secondhand economies thriving on online platforms.
Quebec's public health department is set to give its first press conference on the growing monkeypox outbreak as the province recorded its 16th confirmed case Wednesday.
Quebec politicians were not pleased with the federal Liberals' comments on Bill 96 and Bill 21, firing back with a slew of protests and even raising sovereignty as the solution.
Several of the six aspiring Conservative leaders expressed their opposition to Bill 96 during a French-language debate in Laval on Wednesday night, but others shied away from the opportunity to express their views on the issue.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Here's what you need to know about the storm cleanup in Ottawa today
Hydro Ottawa is hoping to energize hydro lines in the Merivale Road area today, as the cleanup continues following last Saturday's devastating storm.
The president of Hydro Ottawa says "with a little bit of luck" power will be restored along the Merivale Road area on Thursday, bringing power to another 15,000 to 20,000 customers still in the dark following Saturday's storm.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board says all schools with power will be open on Thursday, but 14 schools without power will remain closed.
There was both a sellout crowd inside and a demonstration outside of the Centre in the Square Wednesday evening for speaker Jordan Peterson.
New details are emerging about the tragic incident that killed 27-year-old Shelby Humble-Neale on Saturday.
Waterloo regional police say evidence of gunfire found in McLennan Park in Kitchener is connected to another shooting incident in the nearby area of Windflower Drive and Windflower Crescent.
Sault Ste. Marie city council is asking staff to prepare a report on group homes. This comes after Ward 1 Coun. Paul Christian brought forward concerns this week about two such homes.
There are currently a dozen statues at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes property, and all are from the 1950s.
It’s a sign that summer is on the horizon. Farmers’ markets are opening in cities and towns across the north.
A new report out of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has found that most Manitobans have positive experiences with the health-care system in hospitals.
The Manitoba Government could turn to the military for help as it struggles with staffing shortages, overcrowding, and in some cases, temporary closures of emergency rooms.
The Manitoba government is hinting it may allow more alcohol sales through private channels to boost customer convenience.
The decision to focus on urgent and emergency health care to avert long waits played a key role in B.C.’s current primary care crisis, and the costlier care is compounding the problem.
A social media video that captures the moment a man gets Tasered by a Vancouver police officer is prompting calls for more training for police going out mental health calls.
A judge has refused to grant a B.C. cannabis company an injunction against a man who used a list of email addresses the company accidentally sent to all shareholders against it.
Authorities are investigating Wednesday after the body of a porpoise was discovered on a beach near Victoria.
Victoria police say three men were arrested after a random bear spray attack occurred on Monday.
A British Columbia company that was once at the forefront of the booming plant-based meats industry is shuttering stores and production plants as it struggles to survive.