Study: Equal treatment for Muslim children in Galilee hospitals, even during Gaza war

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September 17, 2015 04:18

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflicts may be intractable, but in the emergency department, all children are treated the same,” says lead study author Dr. Itai Shavit of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

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Hospital  beds.

Hospital beds.. (photo credit: SAM SOKOL)

Despite the endless Arab-Israeli conflict, a new study shows that children of both sectors who need emergency department pain relief get equal care.

Children with broken bones or joint dislocations in northern Israel emergency departments received equal pain treatment, regardless of their ethnicity or the ethnicity of the nurses who treated them, even during a period of armed conflict between the two ethnic groups, according to the study just published online Thursday in the prestigious Annals of Emergency Medicine. The journal is the peer-reviewed scientific journal for the American College of Emergency Physicians, the national medical society representing emergency medicine.

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“The Israeli-Palestinian conflicts may be intractable, but in the emergency department, all children are treated the same,” said lead study author Dr. Itai Shavit of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. “Having a nurse of the same or different ethnicity did not influence the rate of analgesia, and that held true for the entire four years of the study,” including the 11-week period of conflict in Operation Protective Edge between Palestinians and Israelis in Gaza last year.

Of Muslim – Palestinian and Arab Israeli – children with pain scores between seven and 10 (out of 10), 99.05 percent received pain-killing opioid therapy. Of Jewish children with pain scores between seven and 10, 99.08% received opioid therapy. Of Arab children treated by Jewish nurses, 99% percent received opioid pain relievers. Of Jewish children treated by Arab nurses, 98.9% received opioid therapy.

During the Gaza war, 100% of Arabic children received opioid medication and 96% of Jewish children received opioid medication. Jews are the majority population in northern Israel, which is reflected in the higher number of Jewish patients and nurses in the study.

“Inadequate pain relief in emergency departments is a recognized problem, particularly among certain ethnic groups in the US, said Shavit. “We believe these good results are in part due to the high levels of professionalism in the nursing staff.”


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