Ethnic Disparities in the Management of Pediatric Subcutaneous Abscesses

Rachael A. Clark, Isabel C. Garcia, Jillian C. Jacobson, Dai H. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


(1) Background: Significant racial and ethnic disparities affect access to pediatric Emergency Department (ED) and surgical care across the United States. The present study sought to assess the role of racial and ethnic disparities in the management of pediatric subcutaneous abscesses. (2) Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed including ED visits for subcutaneous abscesses in patients < 18 years of age, over a 12-month period. The effects of self-reported ethnicity (Hispanic versus non-Hispanic) and race (Hispanic, Black, Caucasian and Asian) on the diagnosis and management of subcutaneous abscesses were analyzed. (3) Results: 192 patients were identified with an average age of 4.7 ± 5.3 years and 43.8% identified as Hispanic. Non-Hispanic patients were significantly more likely to receive treatment of their SSTI prior to the ED and to be admitted, compared to Hispanic patients. There was no difference in bedside versus operating room incision and drainage (I&D); however, significantly more non-Hispanic patients received procedural sedation for bedside I&D compared to Hispanic patients. There were no differences in outcomes such as recurrence or re-admission based on ethnicity or race. (4) Conclusions: Ethnic and racial disparities exist in the management of subcutaneous abscesses in the United States. Further studies are needed to address the systemic causes of these disparities such as access to tertiary healthcare facilities and systems-based analyses of unconscious bias in healthcare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1428
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • abscess
  • disparities
  • ethnicity
  • pediatric
  • race
  • sedation
  • subcutaneous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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