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August 18, 1993

Ethnicity and Emergency Department Analgesia

JAMA. 1993;270(7):831. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510070053031

To the Editor.  —In the article by Todd et al,1 the authors did not indicate in the study whether alcohol levels were measured in the patients. It is possible that more of the Hispanics than the whites were intoxicated and this might account for the disparity in administration of analgesic medication. Hispanic patients may have been using drugs or other agents that might have altered the perception of pain.The classification of these injuries as "fractures" does not mean they are comparable. For instance, if I assume that white individuals came into the UCLA emergency department as a result of motor vehicle crashes on the freeway, whereas Hispanic individuals were more likely to come in as a result of motor vehicle crashes on local streets, a reasonable assumption would be that the automobile crashes of the whites were at higher speeds and involving higher energy than those of the