Report: Black, Hispanic adults less likely to receive CPR, especially in public | Wednesday Coffee

Racism ‘is definitely one of the factors’ preventing people from responding to Black and Hispanic adults in need of help, researchers said

June 1, 2022 7:09 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

You’ve probably heard of ‘bystander syndrome,’ that tragic social phenomenon where an otherwise sane person sees someone in need of help — whether a crime or a medical emergency — and does nothing to help.

New research by the American Heart Association shows that bystander syndrome is taking a deadly toll on Black and Hispanic Americans, who are “substantially less likely” to receive potentially life-saving CPR in a public setting than their white counterparts.

The findings, which were presented last month at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions in Reston, Va., showed that results improved at home or the workplace, where there were more likely to be personal relationships.

Even so “such CPR still was more likely for white people in the study,” according to the American Heart Association.

“We hypothesized that in a public setting, the rates of bystander CPR would increase and the treatment difference seen in the home setting would be smaller because there are more people available to provide CPR,” the study’s lead researcher, Dr. R. Angel Garcia, a cardiology fellow at St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, it went the opposite way. The disparity became larger.”

(Getty Images/Colorado Newsline)

According to the research, Black and Hispanic adults were 26 percent less likely to receive bystander CPR if their hearts stopped at home than white people. If it happened in public, they were 41 percent less likely to receive such assistance.

Researchers said they compared response rates in a variety of public settings, such as the workplace, recreational facilities, on the street or highway, in transportation centers, and other areas

Black and Hispanic adults who suffered cardiac arrests were 27 percent less likely to receive bystander CPR in the workplace, and 57 percent less likely if it occurred at a transportation center. Researchers noted that all findings are considered preliminary, until full results were published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The  report’s authors “controlled for the age and sex of the people needing aid because some people may be unnecessarily reluctant to administer CPR to older people out of concern for injuring them, or to women out of concern for inappropriately touching them,” the Heart Association said in its statement.

That means “The only thing left to describe why a person would not respond in the public setting is the race of the person,” Garcia said in the statement. “Maybe there is implicit bias. Or maybe they have a conscious bias against the person’s race. The reality is, we can’t account for which of those reasons would be truly present.”

Katie Dainty, the research chair at North York General Hospital and an associate professor at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, said racism is “is definitely one of the factors” preventing Black and Hispanic adults from receiving the help they need.

“But that’s a very hard thing to measure,” Dainty added. “What we need to do is hit these concepts straight on – talk about them so we can address them in a proactive way. And that is not easy. Bringing it to light as we are doing with this research is a step in the right direction.”

The Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg (Capital-Star file)

Our Stuff.
In Commonwealth Court on Tuesday, attorneys for the two leading Republican U.S. Senate candidates and Pennsylvania election officials grappled with questions about whether ballots received by 8 p.m. on Election Day — but without the proper date — should count toward final results. Staff Reporter Marley Parish has the details.

And in an order it issued Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the tabulation of some mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, Marley Parish also reports.

With budget season approaching, Pennsylvania’s business leaders are looking for a corporate tax cut, our partners at City & State Pa. report.

A transgender man from Delaware County hopes the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will clear the way for him to pursue the adoption of a 12-year-old girl whom he views as his daughter, our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News report.

Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson is floating a property tax reform plan that would double the savings for the average city homeowner, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.

On our Commentary Page this morning: Most people support abortion staying legal, but that may not matter in making law, an Allegheny College political science professor writes. And gun violence reduction laws will pass only when more Blacks get guns, opinion regular Michael Coard writes.

GOP U.S. Senate hopefuls David McCormick (L) and Mehmet Oz (R) | Capital-Star photo collage by John L. Micek

GOP U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick has called for a hand recount in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties as the recount begins, the Post-Gazette reports.

PennLive has additional details in the ongoing recount saga.

The Morning Call zooms in on the impact of that U.S. Supreme Court order in the Lehigh Valley.

In Philadelphia, a teen gun violence coalition is using survey data to issue a call to action on the city’s gun violence plague, WHYY-FM reports.

Gov. Tom Wolf and other state governors are taking divergent approaches to tackling gun violence, the Associated Press reports (via WESA-FM).

PoliticsPA delves into the mechanics of political advertising for guns.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has set a vote on gun violence reduction measuresRoll Call reports.

State liquor regulators are on the hook for damages and legal fees in a wine shipping fight, the Commonwealth Court has ruled. The Inquirer has the story.

State Treasurer Stacy Garrity is sitting on $34 million in unclaimed property with ties to Erie County. GoErie explains how to find out if some of it might be yours.

County commissioners in Luzerne County have interviewed 11 Republicans for a vacant seat on county council, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

Wheelchair users are calling on state governments to spend more money on road reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:


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What Goes On
6 p.m., Harrisburg Hilton: Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing

Gov. Tom Wolf has a pair of events on the docket this Wednesday morning. At 11 a.m., he’s in Pittsburgh to talk about his plan to provide $2,000 in direct payments to Pennsylvania families. At 2:15 p.m., he’s in Reading to talk about the state’s efforts to address the nationwide formula shortage.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s a serious burst of classic-style power-pop to get you through your hump day. From The Beths, it’s ‘A Real Thing.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
The Colorado Avalanche notched eight goals on Tuesday, beating the Edmonton Oilers 8-6 in Game One of the NHL’s Western Conference final. The Avs’ Cale Makar had a goal and two assists on the way to the win.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.