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Editor's Correspondence
May 23, 2011

Racial Disparities in End-of-Life Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Pulmonary Section, US Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(10):941-954. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.195

Mack and colleagues1 reported racial disparities in the outcomes of communication about end-of-life treatment preferences and medical care in patients with advanced cancer. The authors speculate that racial bias on the part of health care providers could explain this finding. To explore this more fully, it would be useful to know racial or ethnic characteristics of the health care providers who conducted end-of-life care discussions in this prospective cohort investigation. For example, did clinicians of color participate in end-of-life conversations? If yes, was there evidence to suggest that clinician race or ethnicity might be a predictor of outcomes following an end-of-life discussion?

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