The health disparities which drive inequities in health outcomes have long plagued our already worn healthcare system and are often dismissed as being a result of social determinants of health. Herein, we explore the nature of these inequities by comparing outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities patients suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI). We retrospectively reviewed all patients enrolled in the Trauma One Database at the Oregon Health & Science University Hospital from 2006 to October 2017 with an abbreviated injury scale (AIS) for the head or neck >2. Racial and ethnic minority patients were defined as non-White or Hispanic. A total of 6,352 patients were included in our analysis with 1,504 in the racial and ethnic minority cohort vs. 4,848 in the non-minority cohort. A propensity score (PS) model was generated to account for differences in baseline characteristics between these cohorts to generate 1,500 matched pairs. The adjusted hazard ratio for in-hospital mortality for minority patients was 2.21 [95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.43–3.41, p < 0.001] using injury type, probability of survival, and operative status as covariates. Overall, this study is the first to specifically look at racial and ethnic disparities in the field of neurosurgical trauma. This research has demonstrated significant inequities in the mortality of TBI patients based on race and ethnicity and indicates a substantive need to reshape the current healthcare system and advocate for safer and more supportive pre-hospital social systems to prevent these life-threatening sequelae.
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