The UK wants to address allegations of “racial prejudice” in medical devices

The United Kingdom called on the United States and other “similar countries” on Sunday to address allegations of bias in medical devices such as oxygen meters that give less accurate readings on darker skin. Ethnic minorities.

Health Minister Sajid Javid said he requested an independent review to find out if there was a “structural bias” in UK medical devices.

Javid also hopes to talk to US counterpart Xavier Becerra on this issue and work with the US and other like-minded countries to “shape what’s behind these precious technologies.” He said he was out.

write in The Sunday Times“The oximeter used to determine if COVID-19 treatment is needed is less accurate for people with dark skin,” said Javid.

Oxygen meters usually monitor a patient’s oxygen levels by shining light on the skin and measuring how it is absorbed by the blood. Increased skin pigmentation has been observed as one of the factors that can bias the results.

More experienced medical professionals can offset the mental discrepancies, but may miss them due to a more automated system or lack of awareness between doctors and nurses.

NHS report (pdf) Announced in March, “The situation regarding racial prejudice in pulse oximetry is still mixed, but in the worst case scenario, the application of this intervention could adversely affect patients with high skin pigmentation. I have.”

“It’s systematic all over the world. It’s about the racial prejudice of some medical devices. It’s unintentional, but it does exist. And the oximeter is a good example,” Javid said. Said in an interview with the BBC.

Asked if people could have died of COVID-19 as a result of the defect, Javid said: I don’t have the complete facts. “

He said the reason for the discrepancy was that many medical devices, medicines, procedures, and textbooks were put together in a large number of white countries.

“I want to make sure I’m doing something about it, not just the UK. It’s an international issue and I’ll work with counterparts around the world to change it,” said Javid. I am.

The UK review is expected to investigate all medical devices and other possible biases such as sexism.

“How to make life-saving technologies, such as MRI scanners, available to pregnant or lactating women,” the Minister of Health wrote.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Lily Chow


Lily Zhou is a freelance writer who mainly covers the British news of The Epoch Times.

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