Pain in children is often overlooked. For children of color, it’s even worse.

Cristina Gonzalez, professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, who teaches physicians how to recognize and manage their implicit biases, said she remembers a case many years ago when a young Hispanic patient came to the hospital complaining of severe pain. One staff member said, “I don’t think he’s really in pain.” He was eventually diagnosed with a gallbladder infection, ‌Dr. But those suspicions may have delayed his treatment and caused damage — possibly life-threatening, Gonzalez said.

“Delaying care has a significant impact on health,” she said.

Experts stress that patients should not be relied on to enhance their own care. In recent years, there has been a driven by researchers, hospital and legislators to help healthcare providers become more aware of their biases – which everyone has – and to change their behavior accordingly. But “those are things that take time,” Dr. Wyatt said. In the meantime, these strategies can help parents at the hospital:

Keep records. Write down your child’s medications, symptoms, and contact information with the pediatrician. Then, give staff this information, which will help them assess what kind of care your child needs more quickly. This is especially helpful if your child has a chronic illness and is taking medication regularly.

Get to know the hospital staff. Vanessa Finch, of Fort Lauderdale, Fl., whose son Kahleeb Beckett died at the age of 24 of a sickle cell crisis at the hospital, said when Kahleeb was a child, she found ways to connect with other people. hospital staff. “I volunteered. I kicked it with the social workers. I was in the face of the doctors,” she said. “That makes the difference.” She found that when paramedics felt a more personal connection with her son, Black, they were more empathetic to his pain.

Try to reduce your child’s anxiety. Studies show that that anxiety and pain are intricately intertwined and that some surprisingly simple tactics can help reduce anxiety and reduce pain perception. These might include letting your child imagine a favorite place, listening to a tutorial pictures exercise or provide distractions, like music or video. You can use these strategies while you wait for treatment.

Take a deep breath. “We know that parent’s suffering about their child’s pain in ED really affects How do their children experience pain? and how they respond to treatment,” said Emily Law, author of recent research on the treatment of migraine in adolescents and an associate professor of anesthesiology and analgesic medicine at the University of Washington. So do what you can to stay calm, whether it’s taking a deep breath or stepping out of the exam room to call a friend for support.

If necessary, file a complaint. If you feel that your child is not being treated appropriately, ask to speak to the hospital social worker or write a complaint to the hospital to hold them accountable.

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