What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 31, 2009

Well, isn't that special?

From the Post-Gazette:
Women, blacks and patients covered by Medicare with serious liver-related conditions are less likely to be referred and evaluated for a liver transplant, according to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study.

The study, published in the September issue of the American Journal of Transplantation, says race, gender and insurance status influence decisions on who goes on to receive liver transplants.
But God forbid we in any way reform our Best Health Care System in the WorldTM!


EdHeath said...

So according to the abstract of the study (which is all I can access without paying), 3% of those people with (apparently) end stage liver disease were evaluated for transplantation. I assume the 35 figure represents some limitation in donated organs and/or surgeons able and available to do the procedure. If only 3% of the people who might need transplants are evaluated, then I am not surprised that some discrimination would be present. And since a bit over a third of the people in the study (57,000) died during the study, it would seem the majority of people in the study probably did have pretty serious conditions (maybe not all of the 57,000 died from liver disease).

The real crime, to me, is why so few are evaluated and then offered a transplant (if we have such a wonderful health system). But it certainly is not positive that white males get preference for transplants.

EdHeath said...

That should read "I assume the 3% figure ..." in the second sentence.

Mike said...

The only sentence regarding regarding race in the abstract is "Patients were less likely to undergo evaluation, waitlisting and transplantation if they were women, black and lacked commercial insurance (p < 0.001 each)."

"Lacking commercial insurance" to me would include the uninsured as well. Unless it says so elsewhere, there is no specific mention of Medicare. Hopefully, the person who wrote the article read the entire report.

EdHeath said...

The PG article indicated the study author was interviewed directly.

Maria said...

If only 3% of the people who might need transplants are evaluated, then I am not surprised that some discrimination would be present.

Not sure how that follows.

Back when I worked at a market research company, interviewing 1,000 people was considered adequate for a national political survey. The number is far lower now.

Ellipses said...

as a CURRENT employee at a market research company, I have to interject and say that our national studies have an n-tab of 2,500-3,000.

Maria said...


That's cool. I just know that I've seen some national polls with shockingly low respondents -- 500 or less.

I realize the 1,000 figure I quoted was not from the market research firm I worked for but from a part-time gig I had at NBC (mid/late 80s I think).

They were for NBC/WSJ polls. No one should have believed any of the results anyway because interviewers were seemingly not monitored as I know way too many just made them up (they were paid by the survey).

I had to quit there because:
1) it pissed me off that people were making more for cheating than I was for doing the job right and 2) some of the same people cheating at NBC were also interviewers at the market research firm that i worked at as a supervisor and I would have had to fire them if they pulled that nonsense there.