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The Invisible Patient

28 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2012 Last revised: 17 Jan 2012

Barbara A. Noah

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: 2002


The Author reviews Sally Satel's 2000 book "How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine."

Despite the fact that African-Americans suffer from a variety of health problems at disproportionately higher rates than whites, inequities in the medical system make access to care more difficult for minorities. The problem of racial disparities in health care encompasses more than problems of access or payment, however. Communication difficulties between physician and patient and disparate provision of services covered by insurance also may contribute substantially to health disparities between the races. This review canvasses some of the evidence of differential medical treatment and offers some suggestions that may improve the quality of communication between physicians and patients. In addition to considering the usefulness of the cultural competence movement in the health profession and its connection to the requirement of informed consent, this review calls for an increased commitment to diversity in medical education, and it considers how an often-ignored component of the informed consent doctrine may serve to redress cases of individual discrimination in health care.

Keywords: racial disparities, health care, minorities, inequities, How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine

Suggested Citation

Noah, Barbara A., The Invisible Patient (2002). University of Illinois Law Review, Vol. 2002, p. 121, 2002. Available at SSRN:

Barbara A. Noah (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States
413-782-1432 (Phone)

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