Josh-Daniel S. Davis (joshdavis) wrote,
Josh-Daniel S. Davis

How much is a generic, human life worth?

[Harvard] researchers analyzed data [from the National Trauma Data Bank, which includes more than 900 U.S. hospitals] on nearly 690,000 U.S. [Emergency Room] patients from 2002 through 2006. Burn patients were not included, nor were people who were treated and released, or dead on arrival.

The commercially insured patients had a death rate of 3.3 percent.

The researchers took into account the severity of the injuries and the patients' race, gender and age. After those adjustments, they still found the uninsured were 80 percent more likely to die than those with insurance — even low-income patients insured by the government's Medicaid program.

The researchers couldn't pin down the reasons behind the differences they found. The uninsured might experience more delays being transferred from hospital to hospital. Or they might get different care. Or they could have more trouble communicating with doctors. The hospitals that treat them also could have fewer resources.

Tags: government, medicine
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