Trending Topics

Police and Surgeons Have This in Common: Both More Likely to Kill Black Men Than White Men, Professor Says

surgery, amputation, medical prcedure, doctors in surgical masks, operationWhile it’s a well-established problem that too many Black men in the U.S. die every year at the hands of law enforcement, surgeons in the U.S. are also killing too many Black men — but thus far have largely escaped closer scrutiny, according to an analysis in The Washington Post on Tuesday by a public health expert from Emory University.

Victoria Phillips, an associate professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, writes that while approximately 96 Black men die each year in police homicides, about 95 Black men undergoing heart bypass die each year — after taking account of other factors affecting surgical survival.

“We seldom think of medicine and law enforcement as professions with parallels,” Phillips writes. “While many exist — both are predominantly white, male and fiercely loyal to their own — the most remarkable attribute they share is a unique brand of public trust that provides them license to cause harm: one with weapons, the other with scalpels … In spite of the numbers, the public focuses laser-like on the former and pays minimal attention to the latter.”

Phillips describes how the medical profession has used a complex process called risk adjustment to determine the patient-specific factors that are most likely to lead to death, such as insurance coverage, presence of other diseases, smoking status, weight, age and income. As a result of this process, fatalities connected to bypass surgery have been reduced by 33 percent over the past decade for white men. For Black men? The decline has been just 3 percent.

According to Phillips, the mortality rate from bypass surgery for Black men is 11 percent higher than that for white men of similar health status.

But the medical profession is reluctant to look more closely at the surgeons themselves, perhaps because of concern about malpractice. Phillips also suggests that the reluctance to study the issue is because surgeons, like the police, mostly police themselves.
“These factors must be overcome,” she writes. “Identifying whether physician and hospital features play a role in generating the racially disparate bypass outcomes is a step on the road to eliminating them.”
Phillips points out that the reporting process for police and homicides is so spotty and fraught with holes that the public “rightly views them with extreme skepticism.”

“Reporting is voluntary, and fewer than 5 percent of the nation’s 17,000 law enforcement agencies currently send information,” she writes. “No standard definition for justifiable exists, nor is there clear guidance on what party makes the justifiable determination. ‘Unjustifiable’ deaths aren’t even included. In our high-tech world, this state of affairs is inexcusable.”

“The goal for both professions should be twofold,” Phillips concludes. “The first is to minimize death counts. The second is to investigate existing and perceived racial disparities. These may be a function of racism, but are likely a far more complex phenomenon, a proposition that should be entertained equally in medicine and law enforcement.”


What people are saying

15 thoughts on “Police and Surgeons Have This in Common: Both More Likely to Kill Black Men Than White Men, Professor Says

  1. I did not know the percentage but for a long time now, I thought white doctors were probably allowing blacks to die in the hospital, not only for the reason this articles states, but in many cases, white doctors do this because they hate blacks, bottomline. I have decided to get all black doctors, but in my city, it is hard finding a black ophthalmolist or orthodontist, we do not have very many black specialist doctors. This kind of information is depressing. I have a home girl, went to high school together, and she said, she did not want a black doctor caring for her, little did she know. I told her the scenereo of white doctors deliberately killing black patents, she did not take the information very well.

  2. Tim Cummins says:

    Love love, love Atlanta Black Star telling it like it is. We need this in the UK too….

  3. Hmmmm?
    Texas Ebola patient dies as officials monitor those who had direct contact.
    Thomas Duncan, a Liberian national and the first patient diagnosed outside of Africa, dies at Dallas hospital where he was being treated!
    No surprise here!

  4. John Prewett says:

    Hmmm, don't know about the doctors…. but in light of the fact that some 90 % of interracial violent crime is black perp…… and disproportionate % of all violent crime is black perp…. and the "fuk the police" mentality is more common among young black males…. I'm surprised the cops kill less than 100 a year.
    About 7000 blacks a year murdered. 6300 of them by fellow blacks.

  5. And most white folks are killed by white folks. It's a question of proximity, not of race. Also, you say the disproportionate % – is that of all cases, or just prosecuted ones? That makes a difference; many people are unsure, for instance, if George Zimmerman would ever have been arrested for killing Trayvon Martin (and brought to trial, regardless of outcome) if not for the public outcry. Stand Your Ground laws are enforced inconsistently, most clearly benefiting white and white-passing men over basically everyone else. (For instance, South Carolina prosecutors don't believe their SYG law should apply to women in domestic violence situations, even though 1,000 to 1,600 [it varies] women a year are killed by domestic partners.)

    And it's hard to say how disproportionate that rate is; the FBI keeps statistics for arrests by race, but … they don't have a tab for [email protected] folks. [email protected] aren't white, but they also tend to not be counted as Native American (which they should be). So are the arrested [email protected] being counted as arrests of white people? Black? Other? because if you count [email protected] arrests for violent crime with African-American, and lump those together (which you shouldn't, but I can't tell how the FBI is doing it) that "disproportionate" number is … actually not really that disproportionate at all. Especially if mixed-race individuals are counted as not-white, which socially they tend to be.

    African-Americans are more likely to be falsely convicted, as well. Of 321 DNA-based exonerations (post-conviction), 202 have been African-American. So how does that skew the data on % of violent crime? What about for cases such as sexual assault, where victims are less likely to come forward? People are significantly more likely to be sexually assaulted by people they know; white people have, on average, about 1 "black friend." That implies that most white women who are assaulted are assaulted by white men.

    Also, your statistic ignores that police- and medically-caused deaths (such as deaths on an operating table) are not counted as murders unless the cop or doctor in question is charged and convicted with homocide in some way.

  6. Patrick Hightower says:

    Can you really blame them? Life for blacks here has always been a setup which is an extension of what's going on today

  7. Patrick Hightower says:

    You have NO statistical data that supports those numbers! But when you take resources out of the community , that's what you get!!

  8. Patrick Hightower says:

    It's very true! Now you know who our biblical enemies are! !!! People just refuse to accept truth in the name of so called "equality"

  9. Jenni Anderson Yes! you said it!! Its mostly about proximity. and the mixed race thing is true. Take someone like Obama for instance, he's half black and half whit but everyone considers him black. so if he commits a murder the police are going to mark him as black even though he's equally black and white. Take beyonce as another example. She's black, creole, and something else. Creole people have so much mixed in them that they had to simply be called creole. they tend to have black, white, native american, korean, indian, just everything. And beyonce has that but she is labelled as simply black.

    As an haitian-american living in a black community my whole life i can say that there are many, many mixed blacks who are categorized as black. I know people who had one black great grand parent, everyone afterwards was latino, indian, white, and asian. These people are simply tanned skin and are labeled as black throughout their lives. So when they commit a crime even though they only had one black great grandparent and their blood line is saturated with other ethnicities they are labeled as black on police department records. More notably half black half latino because we blacks and latinoes tend to live near each other. If what Jenni said is true that there is no category for latinoes and there are many mixed black latinoes then both those numbers get added to black numbers. So those statistic numbers may be skewed because more ethnic groups are being added to the group of blacks while the group of white is quite strict. Many latinoes look white but even on demographic studies, US Census,government programs, and even job applications they are strict by making the category "non-white hispanics". Thats to make sure there are no non-whites added to the white number no matter how you look. meaning while their are dozens of groups being added to black statistic numbers, there are only a few added to white statistic numbers. so who knows how low black numbers are really supposed to be. Its quite complicated and you can just take statistic numbers at face value.

  10. John Prewett says:

    Jenni Anderson informs me that : "most white folks are killed by white folks. It's a question of proximity, not of race. " ………. get back to me next time you read of a white man or men invading a home of blacks and robbing, beating, raping and killing any of all of the blacks in that home. Get back to me next time you read of group of white "teens" wandering around town attacking and robbing whoever they come across [nearly always one of the "privileged" persons]. Get back to me next time you hear of a white man raping an old black woman [see the recent of the black that sexually assulted the 100 year old white woman?] Compare interracial forcible rape statistics. Get back to me next time you read of a white man doing to a black woman what her exhubby did to Carmen Blandin Tarleton. There are plenty of white criminals ["all HAVE sinned" amen], however, the victim of choice for white and black criminals is clearly white.

  11. John Prewett says:

    Oh, and as for medical treatment…. do you think a poor person of any color gets the same quality of care as wealthy person of any color? Ever heard: "you get what you pay for".

  12. Virgil Anty says:

    I would really LOVE to see some research validating your claim that "90% of interracial crime is perpetrated by Blacks". Seems like an astronomically high number given the Black population is approximately 13% of the US makeup…

    If you're gonna be racist, just be racist, John. No need to spout made up figures to support your illogical (read:racist) view of Black people .

  13. Virgil Anty says:

    John Prewett Consider this me getting back to you. Receipts included. I know it looks like a lot but I promise it's mostly links:

    1."get back to me next time you read of a white man or men invading a home of blacks and robbing, beating, raping and killing any of all of the blacks in that home"

    So, I'm assuming you mean other than the period where this went on consecutively for years and was a common and accepted occurrence. For 400 years white people invaded black peoples homes, beat them and raped their women. There are more current instances of this, of course but you would have to be crazy not to point out a crime that went on for FOUR HUNDRED YEARS.

    2."Get back to me next time you read of group of white "teens" wandering around town attacking and robbing whoever they come across [nearly always one of the "privileged" persons]"

    This is just funny because you literally ALWAYS hear about this but I have other stuff to do so here's 3 references for you.

    Teens attack man with disability –

    Group of white teens attack black cyclist –

    Homeless men tortured and murdered by teens –

    3. "Get back to me next time you hear of a white man raping an old black woman"

    You're just regurgitating headlines at this point but okay, I'll bite. It's the darndest thing about these links though, the race of these white mens victims aren't announced. One can only wonder why that is when every article about a black rapist comes complete with complete racial profiles, pictures of the victim and mugshots. So weird.

    22 yo man rapes 70 year old woman –

    Man rapes 73 yo woman in Central park –

    The rest you're gonna have to do your own. I'm bored now.

    Oh, and you're welcome. You no longer have any excuse to be ignorant.

  14. Virgil Anty says:

    wher r my replies

  15. John Prewett you must have completely skipped out on history class in school. white people did all the above on a far greater scale than blacks have.

Leave a Reply

Back to top