Commenting on the research, Daniel Lowenstein, MD, professor of neurology, University of California, San Francisco, said the findings aren’t at all surprising. “It’s yet another piece of evidence on what has now become a rather voluminous literature that documents the very significant disparities that exist in our health care system,” said Dr. Lowenstein. “There’s just a huge literature on ‘name your disease and you’ll see the disparities.’ ”
Disparities exist, for example, in diagnosing breast cancer and prostate cancer, in the treatment of stroke and in related outcomes, and there is a well-documented “big disparity” in the approach to pain control among patients presenting at the emergency department, said Dr. Lowenstein.
However, he doesn’t know how disparities in epilepsy and specifically in status epilepticus, compared with disparities regarding other diseases and disorders. He noted that in the case of epilepsy, the situation is likely exacerbated by the stigma associated with that disease.
Dr. Lowenstein agreed that clinicians should play a role in reversing disparities. “We as physicians have a responsibility to be a voice for change in our health care system.”
The study was supported by the Center of Excellence for health equity, training, and research at the Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Tantillo Sepúlveda and Dr. Lowenstein report no relevant financial relationships.
A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.